Department of Chest Diseases Dr. Lecturer Member of Melahat Bekir Külahexplained that as the seasons shift due to global warming, spring allergens start earlier and last longer.
Dr. Lecturer Member Külah stated that approximately one in every 3 people in the society has an allergic body and said, “The majority of atopic people generally have seasonal problems. In other words, allergic complaints may start in certain seasons or their severity may increase. Allergy that occurs in a certain season is seasonal allergy (allergic). “Seasonal allergy, also known as ‘hay fever’ among the public, occurs as a result of the immune system’s overreaction to an allergen from the external environment, such as pollen,” he said.
THERE ARE 3 DIFFERENT PERIODS OF POLLEN
Pointing out that pollen, the pollen produced by plants that wake up with spring and spread to the environment by the wind, is the main cause of seasonal allergies. Lecturer Member Külah continued as follows:
“Pollens have three different periods; tree pollens in spring, grass pollens in spring-summer and some wild grass pollens in late summer-autumn are concentrated in the atmosphere. Since grass pollens are very common in our country, as in Europe, the main allergens in this period are grass pollens. In summer- Allergic flu may also occur in late and autumn due to weed pollens. Patients show an allergic reaction to whichever of these pollens they are allergic to in that season. There is a hereditary-structural predisposition in these people. Not everyone has an allergic reaction to pollens. This type is only seen in people with atopic structure. reactions occur. Although they are most common in March, April, May and June, these allergies continue until the end of autumn. Global warming, the harsh winter months, and the arrival of spring earlier prolong the exposure time to spring allergens, and the pollen season, whether from trees or grass, is earlier. “It starts and lasts longer.”
SYMPTOMS REDUCE THE QUALITY OF LIFE
Dr. Lecturer Member Melahat Bekir Külah pointed out that complaints related to spring allergy differ from person to person and gave the following information:
“Many people may have a runny nose, congestion, itching in the nose; consecutive sneezes, postnasal drip, itching, redness, stinging in the eyes; bags and bruising under the eyes, pain in the throat, itching and hoarseness, fullness and itching in the ears. Frequent recurrent episodes may occur due to postnasal drip.” Clearing the throat can lead to a hacking cough without phlegm. Sometimes, in seasons when pollen is very dense, in addition to a dry cough, a condition called ‘allergic asthma’ occurs, which also includes shortness of breath and wheezing in the chest. Constant mouth breathing during sleep, dryness of the throat due to the nose being blocked. “And it causes frequent awakenings. As a result, sleep quality will deteriorate, fatigue and weakness may occur during the day, and as a result, the person’s school/work success will be affected. Therefore, although spring allergy is not a life-threatening disease of the individual, it significantly impairs the quality of life.”
IT IS QUITE EASY TO DETECT ALLERGY
Pointing out that it is very easy to detect seasonal allergies, Dr. Lecturer Member Melahat Bekir Külah said, “If a very careful, detailed and meticulous anamnesis or history is taken, it can be easily determined which type of spring allergy a person has. Depending on the period in which the symptoms appear, it can also be determined which plants’ pollen they are allergic to. This information is insufficient.” In such cases, skin prick tests are used. Prick skin tests are the most commonly used tests in diagnosis. These tests are cheap, simple, sensitive and give immediate results. Liquid allergen substance is dropped on the front surface of the forearm. A sterile and disposable device called ‘lancet’ is applied to the skin surface where the allergen is dropped. Application is made with a sharp needle. After the test is applied, wait 15-20 minutes and then the skin test results are evaluated. In cases where skin prick tests cannot be applied, the diagnosis is made by measuring specific “IgE” in the blood. Those with asthma symptoms, namely cough, shortness of breath “Respiratory function tests should also be performed in those who have complaints such as wheezing,” he said.
PAY ATTENTION TO THESE DURING POLLEN SEASONS
Dr. Lecturer Member Melahat Bekir Külah pointed out that the way to protect against seasonal allergies is for the patient to stay away from environments where this allergen is present and gave the following information:
“These measures are only valid for the seasons when pollen is dense. Pollen is found in the air intensively during the day, especially in the early morning and noon hours. Pollen density decreases greatly in the first few hours and evening hours after it rains. Time planning of outdoor activities should be done well. Dry “Patients should not go out unless it is necessary in windy weather. They should not engage in outdoor activities or minimize them. Indoor areas may be preferred for sports activities.”
Külah said that the effects of allergies can be reduced by making changes in our clothing and added:
“Hats, glasses, clothes with long sleeves and legs should be preferred, these clothes should be changed when entering the house, a shower should be taken with plenty of water, or the hair and face should be washed with plenty of water. If possible, the laundry should be dried inside the house or a dryer should be used during the pollen season. Doors and windows should be especially protected from pollen. It should be kept closed during busy hours. Air conditioning with pollen filters should be used at home and in the car. It is of great importance to ensure that the windows are not open while driving. If traveling on public transportation, efforts should be made to sit away from open windows or doors. However, most of the time it may not be possible to implement these measures. In such cases, medications are recommended to control the patient’s complaints. Nasal medications, eye drops, allergy pills, injections, and breath-opening medications can be used in the treatment of allergies in people with asthma symptoms. It takes 1-2 weeks for the medications to take effect. Such treatments are insufficient. “In some cases, immunotherapy or vaccine treatment is also possible.”