So it’s world allergy week. As per the World Allergy Organisation the theme is

Allergy care does not stop with COVID 19.

So in the ongoing pandemic, if you have allergies, asthma, do not hesitate to reach out to your Allergy specialist. And keep in mind other monsoon diseases too

Pollen Allergies, How to deal with them in tropical countries

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

Cynodon Dactylon, For Dried Root, Sugatu Global | ID: 14991098188

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

World Allergy Week 2019: Immunotherapy : Modifying Allergic Disorders


World Hearing Day

WHO has declared today as world hearing day.

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

Dry weather is back! Managing nosebleeds

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
  • Small children
  • Anemic people
  • 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