Pollen count from December to October

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Climate change leads to longer pollen flight times: pollen flight in the future from December to October?

Not a good prediction for allergy sufferers: the high season of pollen is actually over in late summer. However, scientists expect that pollen flight times will shift and expand due to global warming.

Pollen count from December to October Itchy and watery eyes, runny nose - now, in September, hay fever is not really a big issue. But scientists assume that the pollen flight time will expand significantly due to climate change in the future. Thomas Fuchs, Head of Allergology at the University Medical Center Göttingen and member of the Board of Directors of the Medical Association of German Allergologists (AeDA) explains: "When it gets warmer, flowering times shift." Fuchs believes that pollen will fly from mid-December to mid-October in the future.

Blood tests to diagnose an allergy People who are concerned about hay fever are advised to see a specialist. According to Fuchs, simple means such as cooling eyes or washing the face would only relieve the symptoms temporarily and inadequately. He recommends performing blood tests to diagnose an allergy in the pollen season between March and October. In skin tests, allergens are applied to the skin and the reactions are checked. As the skin is already irritated in the pollen season, they should wait until the allergy-free period with a skin test.

Do not take allergies lightly If an allergy is diagnosed, there is an acute need for action. Anti-itch antihistamines or cortisone sprays for the nose are just two ways to relieve the symptoms. "Acute therapy must be supplemented by allergen-specific immunotherapy." With this method, allergens are injected into the patient or administered via tablets. Affected people should start immunization in the allergy-free period and continue for three to five years. According to Fuchs, the goal of the therapy is that the immune system no longer reacts to the allergens. Since allergies can become chronic, they should not be taken lightly: "In 90 percent of those affected, the allergy gets worse if not properly treated." There is also an increased risk of food allergy for people who already suffer from an allergy: "50 percent of birch pollen allergy sufferers also have a nut allergy."

Natural preventive measures However, there are also some completely natural measures with which those affected can help themselves. In general, in order to prevent hay fever, contact with the allergy-causing pollen should be minimized as much as possible. Street clothing should not be taken into the bedroom, as the pollen adheres to it and can become a burden at night if the clothing is left in the bedroom. Ventilation of the apartment also needs to be carefully considered for hay fever patients. Under no circumstances should it be ventilated during the day in dry weather, since most of the pollen is usually in the air here. For hay fever sufferers, ventilation is best suited during or shortly after a rain shower because the pollen pollution in the air is then relatively low. Since a lot of pollen settles in the hair and they are taken to bed if the hair is not rinsed out at least, evening hair washing is also a precaution.

Allergy sufferers in Germany undersupplied According to a study, allergy sufferers in Germany are massively underserved. The number of hay fever patients and asthmatics rose by 0.4 and 8.7 percent between 2007 and 2010, while treatments declined over the same period. Scientists at the University of Duisburg-Essen discovered this. The number of patients shrank by 13 percent overall in both clinical pictures. In asthma, practices accounted for around 27 percent fewer allergic treatments and in hay fever, the decrease was even 31 percent. 40 million billing data from 10 million legally insured persons served as the starting point for the study. The Medical Association of German Allergists (AeDA) presented the research results at the 8th German Allergy Congress in Bochum. (ad)

Image: M. Großmann / pixelio.de

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