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Hay fever can be dangerous: do not underestimate pollen allergy
About 13 million people in Germany suffer from a pollen allergy. Health experts warn against underestimating hay fever. If the allergy is not treated consistently, chronic asthma can develop from it. Some tips can help those affected to prevent or alleviate symptoms.
The most common form of allergy in this country
Almost a third of German adults and around one in four children suffer from an allergy. According to health experts, hay fever is the most common form of allergy. According to the German Allergy and Asthma Association (DAAB), around 16 percent of the population nationwide - around 13 million people - have a pollen allergy. In some cases, simple home remedies for hay fever are enough to relieve the symptoms. But sometimes medical treatment is necessary. However, experts should not underestimate a pollen allergy.
Many allergy sufferers suffer in spring
Spring is often an intense time of suffering for people with hay fever.
In addition to a constantly blocked or runny nose and sneezing attacks, they usually also have to fight with 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.
It is best to avoid pollen
The safest way to treat hay fever is to avoid pollen. 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.
Vaccination in prospect
In the future there might be a vaccination against pollen allergy. Because only recently have researchers from Austria successfully tested a hay fever vaccine.
The scientists have shown that "the synthetically produced vaccine BM32 with four injections in the first year and a refresher in the second year of treatment alleviates the symptoms of those affected by at least 25 percent," according to a statement by MedUni Vienna.
This is an important step towards the development of an effective hay fever therapy.
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," Bavaria's Minister of Health Melanie Huml explains in a message.
It is therefore advisable to talk to your family doctor promptly if you suspect an allergy and, if necessary, to 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)