When you’re out in the garden for your morning walk, you sneeze a lot, your eyes are watering, your nose is running. this happens more in the summer months and especially in warm climates… these are signs of hay fever or pollen allergy. We will come to hay fever, but first……
What is pollen?
This question is a bit surprising, but a lot of my patients are not aware what pollen is
The yellow dust found in flowers is known as pollen. It’s the form of reproduction of plants and so travels from plant to plant. This could be through the air or stuck to the body of insects. This is known as pollination.
Plants with bigger colorful flowers are specially designed to attract insects. They have larger and heavier pollen. This pollen travels from plant to plant stuck to the body of insects and have less chance of causing allergies.
On the other hand, plants like grasses, etc have smaller or unattractive flowers. Their pollen travels from plant to plant via the wind, and can be blown for distances upto more than 100 km.
What is hay fever?
In the warm summer months, especially where there are open grasslands, where dried grass or hay is released, lots of pollen is released in the air. This pollen travels long distances and reaches your home and place and makes you sneeze.
Pollen allergies can cause itching of eyes, rashes and swelling all over the body too.
Pollen allergies and global warming:
Pollen allergies are becoming more and more common as the weather gets warmer. In the weather more plants are stimulated to pollinate, and more and more pollen is released in the air, giving exposure to more and more people.
Am I allergic to pollen in the Cities?
Contrary to proper belief, plants and greenery are all around you in the city. Big trees, all around. Parks, lawn grass. Durva grass offered to Lord Ganesha. Outskirts of cities and open fields, lots of weeds and shrubs growing wild, Vacant lots. All this pollen blows into your house and causes allergies.
School children playing games on grassland and in gardens are prone to allergies.
How to prevent pollen allergies?
pollen is released early morning and late evening. Avoid going for walks at that time. Wear full sleeves and a mask. On going home take a shower and put all the clothes for washing.
Environmental pollutants, petrol diesel fumes, cigarette smoke, etc, causes more irritation and make pollen allergies worse.
Nowadays, various ornamental plants are encouraged to be planted. These plants have pollen which is not allergenic.
Immunotherapy helps a lot for pollen allergies!
I’ve discussed about immunotherapy in the previous blog. Immunotherapy drops and tablets are available for pollen allergies. It is a safe, natural way of overcoming your allergies and no side effects.
NEXT: Some common plants in India responsible for pollen allergy