Hay fever: Now the birch pollen is flying again
A constantly runny nose, watery eyes and headache are the typical symptoms of hay fever. Meteorologists have no good news for allergy sufferers this year because the birch pollen load is particularly high this year. According to the measurements, the pollen will fly earlier than usual this year. Experts explain how allergy sufferers get through spring and summer despite hay fever.
Birch pollen only fly more frequently every two years
The symptoms of hay fever can even lead to an asthma attack. Allergy sufferers should therefore be particularly careful now, because the birch pollen season has already started. Meteorologists at the Free University (FU) Berlin used measurements to find out that birch pollen had started particularly early this year. Only once did the pollen travel earlier - in 1990, as the FU reports. 50 pollen per cubic meter of air were measured last weekend, the meteorologists report. This is a value that is usually only measured in early April. Birch trees in northern and central Germany would generally release their pollen every two years. That is why a particularly strong pollen count is expected this year. Pulmonologists and allergists therefore advise against hyposensitization. In addition, those affected should stock up on anti-allergic medicines in good time, explains Karl-Christian Bergmann from the Allergy Center at the Charité in Berlin. He had already treated patients with severe symptoms this year in mid-March. The expert urgently advises hay fever patients who also suffer from a dry cough to visit their doctor, as this can be a first indication of allergic asthma.
According to the German Allergy and Asthma Association (DAAB), birch pollen is one of the most common causes of allergies with the typical symptoms of tears in the eyes, sneezing and runny nose.
Strong birch pollen flight awaits at Easter Karl-Christian Bergmann is a member of the board of the German Pollen Information Service Foundation (PID). He suspects a strong birch pollen flight over the Easter days. PID currently measures a strong pollen load from the birch, especially in West and Southwest Germany.
Experts advise birch pollen allergy sufferers, among other things, to hyposensitization. On the one hand, immunotherapy should significantly alleviate the symptoms and, on the other hand, prevent allergic asthma, reports the DAAB. For this, it is necessary that patients take medication every day. Therapy with syringes is also possible. "With birch pollen allergies, hyposensitization certainly helps," explains Bergmann. In the case of mites, however, this therapy is not mandatory, since a positive skin test is not a clear indication of a dust mite allergy.
About 23 to 25 percent of Germans suffer from hay fever The Medical Association of German Allergists (ÄDA) estimates that about 23 to 25 percent of Germans are plagued by hay fever. If the allergic runny nose is not treated, it leads to allergic asthma in a third of those affected, warns the PGD.
The PID uses a network of 50 flight traps for its measurements. The regionally sometimes very different data are forwarded to the German Weather Service, which uses them to determine a pollen flight forecast. Allergy sufferers can find out more on the website of the German Weather Service and thus protect themselves against hay fever. While the pollen used to be seasonal only from March to October, the pollen flight now takes place almost all year round. The PID identified a trend towards an overall longer pollen count. When evaluating the plant flowering phases from 2000 to 2007, the experts found that the flowering period of early bloomers such as trees generally begins earlier due to the global rise in temperature. According to the PID, pollen production takes longer for herbs that are late flowering plants. This reduces the hay fever-free time for those affected. As a rule, the pollen of the hazel flies first, followed by alder and birch pollen.
Daily tips against pollen allergy At least a little protection against sneezing and itchy eyes in everyday life. Among other things, the DAAB advises pollen allergy sufferers to wash their hair before going to bed and not to take off their clothes in the bedroom. The car should be kept as clean as possible to avoid sneezing attacks while driving. Because at the wheel, this can lead to dangerous situations in road traffic, reports Sonja Lämmel from DAAB. She also recommends regular cleaning of the car from the outside and inside. According to the expert, the floor mats and seats should be vacuumed thoroughly. The pollen filter in the vehicle ventilation can be replaced at least once a year. Sunroofs and windows are best kept closed during the pollen flight.
Pollen allergy sufferers should be careful with pome and stone fruit because of possible cross allergies. The European Foundation for Allergy Research (ECARF) in Berlin advises you to eat the corresponding fruit only warmed, as this will destroy the heat-sensitive allergens. Cross allergies come about because the allergens in the fruit are very similar in structure to those of the birch pollen. The immune system could not tell the difference and would react with the typical symptoms such as tingling and swelling in the mouth and neck area. In severe cases, life-threatening situations could arise from shortness of breath.
Help with allergies from naturopathy In naturopathy, pollen allergy is generally not seen as a problem of the nose, but of the entire human organism. That is why many therapeutic concepts in naturopathy are holistic. The overreactions of the immune system to an actually harmless external stimulus should be brought back into the healthy immunological regulation ability of the body. In addition to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), which also includes acupuncture, homeopathy and therapy with vital substances can provide relief. In addition, many naturopaths offer autologous blood therapy, hypnosis, Bach flower remedies and intestinal rehabilitation for pollen allergies.
Autologous blood therapy should already be carried out in winter. Blood that was previously taken from the patient is either left unchanged, potentiated, mixed with oxygen or medication and possibly injected again with UV light. Local inflammation is said to cause an infection that results in different reactions of the immune system. A “vegetative total switching” of the organism should lead to healing.
In therapeutic hypnosis, the immune system should also be influenced favorably. On the one hand, this is due to the non-specific effect on the immune system due to the hypnotic state of relaxation. On the other hand, allergies often have psychogenic aspects as intolerances, which can be revealed or symbolically changed by hypnosis.
In Bach flower therapy, allergy is seen as a psychological or mental intolerance of the person expressed through the body. The hypersensitivity arises from the fact that the underlying conflict or problem is projected externally onto harmless triggers. Flower essences such as Beech, Crab apple and Impatiens are often used for pollen allergies.
Naturopaths often carry out a laboratory examination with allergy sufferers followed by intestinal rehabilitation with its intestinal flora, which is important for the defense functions. For therapy, microbiological drugs and a special diet are combined. This should mobilize your own self-healing powers. (ag)
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