The first pollen is in the air

The first pollen is in the air

Beware of pollen allergy: the first pollen is already on its way

Pollen allergy in February? Most people think of warmer seasons when flying pollen. But even in cool temperatures, the pollen is already flying through the air. Hazel and alder bloom in February and spread their fine dust. People with a pollen allergy should therefore be prepared now. But it doesn't always have to be cortisone or an antihistamine. In naturopathy, there are various methods to choose from that provide relief from pollen allergy sufferers.

Pollen can trigger allergic asthma. In the case of a pollen allergy, also known colloquially as hay fever, certain pollen are classified as a threat by the immune system. This leads to a defense reaction of the immune cells. Typical symptoms include redness, itching, sneezing, and runny nose. The background of the reddening is an improved blood circulation to make it easier for the immune cells to "move up". The itching is supposed to draw attention to the affected region and the sneezing and the increased formation of mucus transport the troublemakers (allergens) out of the body. Symptoms such as allergic asthma with severe shortness of breath can also occur. This can be life-threatening and must always be treated by a doctor. "This affects the lower respiratory tract," explains biologist Anja Schwalfenberg from the German Allergy and Asthma Association (DAAB) in Mönchengladbach to the news agency "dpa".

A pollen allergy can occur at any age. It often changes in the course of life. Basically, those affected react very differently to the allergy-causing substances. "There is no general threshold for the occurrence of symptoms," Uwe E. Berger from the Medical University of Vienna told the news agency. Sensitivity to allergens also changes over the course of the pollen season. In addition, pollutants can make pollen more aggressive, reports the DAAB.

At present, allergy sufferers are particularly hard hit by the pollen from hazelnut bushes and alder trees. "Theoretically, pollen can be transported over a thousand kilometers," reports Berger. The pollen expert heads the aerobiology and pollen information research group of the European Aeroallergen Network (EAN). The network records and evaluates the data from around 400 pollen traps.

Diagnosis of a pollen allergy is necessary to identify allergens "The best therapy for pollen allergy sufferers is avoiding the allergen," Berger reports. Although pollen information and predictions help, it is often very difficult to strictly avoid, since the pollen is practically everywhere can fly there.

If a pollen allergy is suspected, the allergenic substance should first be identified as part of an allergy diagnosis. "This is done via a skin test or a blood test," says Schwalfenberg. "Both test methods are meaningful," Professor Karl-Christian Bergmann, chairman of the German Pollen Information Service Foundation and allergist at the Berlin Charité Allergy Center, confirmed to the news agency. "They show whether there are antibodies that demonstrate sensitization." If the typical symptoms appear in addition to the antibodies, it is an allergy.

According to the DAAB, about 20 percent of the population in Germany is affected by a pollen allergy. It is still unclear why some people develop an allergy, but not others. An inherited predisposition is obvious if one or both parents suffer from a pollen allergy. "Without the appropriate genetic makeup, the probability of an allergy is seven to eight percent," explains Bergmann. Smoking and passive smoking favor the development of an allergy. According to the expert, breastfeeding infants up to the age of four is said to have a positive effect. He also advises parents to Do not isolate children from bacteria too much in the first two years, as the immune system needs challenges in this phase of life. "Absolutely avoiding bacteria is definitely not sensible," says Bergmann.

Another problem with pollen allergies concerns so-called cross allergies. "You also react to various foods, such as apples in the case of hazel pollen allergy," explains Schwalfenberg. According to Bergmann, roughly every second pollen allergy sufferers also suffer from cross allergy.

Treatments for pollen allergy A pollen allergy can severely limit the person affected in everyday life. Treatment with medications called antihistamines aims to relieve the symptoms. Although this means relief for the patient, it only improves for a short time. In addition, many remedies get undesirable side effects from the remedies. "Antihistamines are effective against all forms of allergic rhinitis," says Bergmann. Cortisone is usually only prescribed for severe allergies. Most patients use a spray for topical use.

If you want to permanently get rid of your pollen allergy, you can have a so-called hyposensitization carried out by the allergist. As part of a three-year therapy, the patient is given the smallest amounts of the allergen to slowly get the immune system used to the substance. The dose of the allergen is continuously increased in small steps.

Naturopathy for pollen allergies In naturopathy, a pollen allergy is not seen as a problem of the nose, but rather of the entire organism. As a result, naturopathic therapies are geared towards converting the overreactions of the immune system to a certain substance into healthy regulation and thus achieving permanent relief. Homeopathy, autologous blood therapy, Bach flower therapy, intestinal rehabilitation, hypnosis, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) such as acupuncture as well as therapy with vital substances are successfully used in naturopathic practices for pollen allergy. (ag)

Photo credit: Thomas Blenkers /

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