With exessive urbanization, climate change and global warming, pollen allergies are on the rise
Sneezing, running nose, watering of eyes, all these are symptoms of allergies
If you have a pollen allergy, this is more common when you are outside.
Pollen allergies, also called as hay fever, are fairly common in cold countries due to birch and pine tree pollens. However, this is not restricted to cold countries. Pollen is a major cause of allergy in warm climates too!
standard blood tests test for European pollen such as birch, oak, maple, etc. However, these plants are not found in the tropics!
why is pollen allergy common in the tropics ?
Tree, grass and weed pollen native to tropical climates cause a lot of allergies
Pollen from ornamental flowers is carried by insects and is heavy so it does not blow around. As per common belief, roses or other similar flowers do not cause allergies.
flowers of grass and weeds are small and their pollen is extremely tiny. This pollen is very light and it gets blown in the wind for hundreds of kilometers
Even if you don’t have trees nearby, this pollen gets blown around and mixes with the dust in the house. That is why pollen allergy is common in cities too.
Early morning and late evening pollen is more concentrated in the atmosphere. So it is advisable not to go for jogging or walks at that time.
Which plants cause pollen allergy in tropics?
Parthenium or congress grass: This pollen is present throughout the year. It is an invasive species imported with cheap quality wheat from western countries.
Cynodon or bermuda grass: This is commonly used as lawn grass. It is important as it is offered to Lord Ganesha. Known as Durva or Doob grass locally
Ricinus communis: Castor oil tree. This tree commonly grows at the edge of canals and vacant lot
Carica Papaya: Papaya tree. This tree too grows next to vacant lots. It has increased popularity as its leaves are believed to cure Dengue fever
Prosopis or Mesquite : This tree is found in open grasslands
Samania Saman or raintree : This is a fairly common tree in Urban areas
Neem tree or Azadirachta Indica : A local holy tree
Amaranthus and Chenopodium: weeds
How to deal with pollen allergies?
Encourage planting more plants known to have hypoallergenic pollen
The best thing to be done is to avoid contact with pollen
Keep your doors and windows closed early morning and late evening. Do not go for a walk or outdoor activities then
Wear a mask
wear full sleeves and covered clothes. On returning home take a shower and put your clothes to wash
drying clothes outdoor can lead to pollen deposition on them
How to treat allergies?
If you have symptoms, consult your doctor. medication and sprays will help to relieve them
Pollen allergy can be diagnosed by skin prick testing. As per WHO skin prick testing is the gold standard for treatment of allergies.
They respond well to allergen Immunotherapy. Sublingual immunotherapy is a safe and convenient way to deal with allergies, without having to visit the hospital frequently.
What is immunotherapy for allergies?
Immunotherapy is the primary course of treatment for allergies. In this form of treatment the allergen extract is administered in a gradual increasing dose over a period of time. This can be in the form of injections or drops to be taken below the tongue.
Does immunotherapy have side effects?
Immunotherapy is perfectly natural. It is the protein extract of the allergen as determined by the allergy testing. There are no allopathic, steroid, sedative or alternative medicine additive. Initially it trigger allergic symptoms till the body gets used to it. It DOES NOT cause weight gain or BEHAVIOURAL problems. You can check the link below and previous blog posts
Sadly, hearing has not been given as importance as it should. People get specs made as soon as they realise they cannot see. But they’re not so keen on getting a hearing aid fitted, though the latest digital hearing aids are user friendly.
Hearing for all:
This should start at the cradle itself. Suspected hearing loss at birth can be detected by a very simple hearing test known as echo screening.
As the child grows up attention should be given to whether it is responding to sounds, startling on sudden sounds or turning the head towards the sound.
BERA test can be done in babies to detect hearing loss. Its a special computerised test which directly detects hearing problems in the brain
Children require constant care and constantly speaking with them will aid in speech development
Cochlear implantation can be done at a very early age in hearing impaired children for better results
Childhood diseases such as pus coming from the ears, colds enlarged tonsils and adenoids which lead to fluid collection behind the ear drum and other ear diseases should be dealt with.
Young adults and teenagers should be aware of proper hearing practices. They should avoid prolonged use of earphones at high levels, avoid high decibel sounds in clubs, parties,rock shows etc
Avoid inserting foreign objects like Q tips, pins, toothpicks etc in the ear canal. This can damage the ear drum or inner ear, impact wax or other objects in the ear canal and make things worse.
Proper hearing screening for senior citizens at the early stages of hearing loss so they can adjust better to hearing devices, and for their safety.
The views expressed on the website are solely of the author. Contact your ENT doctor, child specialist for further guidance
With the monsoon being over dry weather has set in. In India the Indian summer has set in, cold at night, hot dry weather in the mornings. The difference in temperature, especially while moving from the heat into an airconditioned room can trigger a nosebleed. Nosebleed happens because of the following reasons.
Dry weather leads to dryness of the inner lining of the vestibule or entrance of the nose. The blood vessels on the septum or central part of the nose is known as Little’s area get congested and they burst which leads to bleeding. Later on the blood clots forming a scab which is tempting to pick. On picking this scab the bleeding will start again.
In case of small children there could be a chance that they have put a foreign body up their nose.
Due to accidental injury to the nose
Due to Sinus infections or a tumor or polyp in the nose
How to manage a nosebleed:
Don’t get alarmed. Simple nosebleeds can be managed easily.
First of all sit down in a well ventilated area and bend forward so that the blood falls straight and not down the back of the throat which can cause choking. This reduces blood pressure which aids in stopping the bleeding. Don’t lie down.
loosen tight and constrictive clothing
Don’t attempt to stuff cotton in the nose or try to wipe it with any object. This will only scratch the delicate tissues inside the nose and cause more bleeding
pinch the tip of the nose with thumb and forefinger and breath through the mouth
apply ice packs to the cheeks and face.
Attend the emergency room if
The bleeding is too much or has been going on from the next 20 minutes
In case the bleeding is due to accident or injury
If the patient has difficulty breathing
For long term management and prevention of nose bleeds:
Avoid sudden extreme temperature changes
apply oil or petroleum jelly in your nose twice or thrice daily. This keeps the area moist and stops crusting and bleeding
in case of blood or pus discharge from the nose, especially a single nostril in children, chances of sticking something up the nose are high. In adults it could be due to sinus disease
If the bleeding is severe and more frequent, check with your doctor
Keep fingernails short with small children
The information above is solely the views of the author. Please consult your ENT specialist for treatment