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Suffering for allergy sufferers begins: first birch pollen is on the way
A few weeks ago, the beautiful weather caused hazel and alder pollen to float through the air. Now the flight of the birch pollen is coming. For people with a pollen allergy, spring is usually a time of suffering. But some tips can help those affected to prevent or alleviate symptoms.
Around 13 million Germans have hay fever
According to the German Allergy and Asthma Association (DAAB), around 16 percent of the population nationwide - around 13 million people - have a pollen allergy. For those affected, this means not only a constantly blocked or runny nose and sneezing attacks, but also itchy eyes, chronic fatigue and sleep disorders. "The allergic runny nose is triggered by the pollen from trees, shrubs, grasses, cereals and herbs," explains the DAAB. "As soon as the pollen comes into contact with the mucous membranes", the respective symptoms appear in those affected. Over the next few weeks, people who are allergic to birch pollen will have to face complaints, but a few tips can help prevent them.
The next "pollen wave" is in the house
Some pollen is more difficult for those affected than others. The pollen load from birch trees will soon begin:
"While the past few days can be called phenological and weather-related as a pollen-fly" lame duck ", allergy sufferers now have the next" pollen wave "at the beginning of spring - the birch blossom (Betula) begins," writes the German Foundation Pollen information service on their website.
In the coming weeks, the experts expect "in large parts of the western German flatlands, along the Rhine and Danube and within urban warming islands" to "quickly intensify possible complaints from birch pollen up to the range of high values".
Birch blossom lasts for two to three weeks
Birch blossom also begins in Berlin. "We do not expect a pollen explosion, but a gradual increase," explains Thomas Dümmel, meteorologist at the Free University of Berlin (FU) in a message from the dpa news agency.
"The highlight will probably be the coming weekend," said the expert. According to the information, 2,000 to 3,000 pollen per cubic meter of air could then be measured in one day.
“It all depends on the location of a birch,” explains Dümmel in the agency report. "If she is fully in the sun all day, she is really getting started."
Trees in the shade, on the other hand, would need a little more time. The birch blossom therefore takes a total of around two to three weeks.
It is best to avoid pollen
According to experts, it is advisable for allergy sufferers who react strongly to birch pollen to take prophylactic medication.
However, various tips and home remedies can also help to prevent or alleviate the symptoms.
Avoiding pollen is ideal. With the help of special apps and on websites, you can check when the pollen count is strongest and in some cases you can also "predict" your individual allergic risk.
It is also recommended to ventilate between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. when the pollen count is the lowest.
In strong winds, ventilation should be avoided. So that you do not bring the pollen-laden clothes into the bedroom, it is best to take them off in the bathroom.
You are also advised to take a shower before going to bed; especially the hair should be washed, as pollen may have settled there.
Wet towels hung in the room can help as pollen sticks to them. If it rains, allergy sufferers are advised to use this time for a walk.
Treatment at different levels
Many people benefit from specific immunotherapy (hyposensitization), in which the immune system slowly gets used to the allergenic substance over a longer period of time by regularly giving the person concerned a gradually increasing dose.
"This therapy is called" allergy vaccination "by the World Health Organization," says the German Pollen Information Service Foundation.
“It can significantly alleviate the symptoms of a pollen allergy because it combats the cause and not the symptoms. However, the chances of success of this treatment method are not uniform for the different allergies, ”the experts explain.
Because of the possible side effects that this treatment method can have, such as allergic reactions or circulatory problems, some allergy sufferers prefer to use naturopathic treatments such as autologous blood therapy, acupuncture or Bach flower therapy.
In exceptional cases, medication is also recommended, which is used to relieve and prevent the symptoms of hay fever and to treat inflammatory swelling of the mucous membranes.
Treat hay fever early
According to health experts, hay fever should always be treated early, otherwise chronic asthma could develop from it.
"Asthma as a result of an undetected allergy is unfortunately not uncommon: About 40 percent of those affected develop chronic bronchial asthma after eight years - if the allergy is not treated by a doctor," said Bavaria's Minister of Health Melanie Huml in an older message.
It is therefore advisable to speak to your family doctor promptly if you suspect an allergy and, if necessary, make an appointment with the allergist.
"To detect a pollen allergy, skin tests are carried out in which pollen extracts are applied to the skin or injected under the skin," says the DAAB.
"In addition, a blood test can be carried out, in which specific IgE antibodies against the respective pollen can be detected." (Ad)