THE TROUBLE THAT COMES WITH THE WINDS OF SPRING: ALLERGY

WIND-BORN POLLENS AFFECT THE ONES WITH SENSITIVE IMMUNE SYSTEM.

Allergy is described as a condition in which exposure to a substance causes an overreaction by the immune system. Some substances that are not harmful to human body normally can cause some reactions in allergic people. Air-born tree, weed, and flower pollens are carried from place to place with the wind in especially spring and this affect the eyes and the respiratory system. The experts explain the ways to be protected against allergies in spring and what to eat for a strong body.

Pollens might cause sneezing and hard breathing
Highlighting that especially tree and flower pollens in spring affect our immune system and cause it to react abnormally, Lokman Hekim Hospital Chest Disease Specialist Assoc. Prof. Dr. Bülent Bozkurt explains the change in our bodies due to seasonal allergies as follows: “Pollen is the most common cause of spring allergy. However, depending on the climate, the density of other airborne allergens, such as house dust mites, mold fungi, also changes in parallel with changes in air temperature and humidity. The months of April to June are the months when the amount of pollen increases the most in the atmosphere.”

Rain affects pollens
“Various reasons like the beginning of the spring season, the rainy weather will also affect the time and intensity of pollen emerging in the air. This will cause the timing and severity of clinical signs to change. Pollens often cause hay fever because they have a large particle structure and are often accumulated in the nose while breathing. Those with smaller particle diameters or those that reach the bronchi by mouth breathing cause slightly less allergic asthma.”

Watch for itching and redness
“In this season, allergens cause hay fever that is seen with the symptoms of sneezing, nasal discharge, nasal itch, and bleary eyes; allergic bronchial asthma that is seen with the symptoms of wheezing in the lungs, shortness of breath, dark phlegm production in the lungs; and allergic eczema that causes itching, redness, and dryness of the skin. These complaints are among the most important health problems that need to be treated because of their continuity, their impact on the sufferer’s life quality by reducing their performance; they may also cause loss of work power and lead to absenteeism from work or school.”

First step in treatments: Protection
Lokman Hekim Hospital Chest Disease Specialist Assoc. Prof. Dr. Bülent Bozkurt who emphasizes that substance or substances causing allergies should be determined first warns, “The type and severity of the condition and the damage caused by it should be determined and appropriate treatment should be initiated. The patient should be kept in close observation and the treatment should be changed according to the response.” Bozkurt says, “First of all, protection is essential and it is possible by avoiding the triggering factors (indoor and outdoor allergens, chemical substances, infections, medicines, etc.). In cases where the diagnosis of allergic disease is confirmed by skin or blood tests and allergen or allergens can be detected, the best approach is to stay away from the allergen or allergens as much as possible. ”

Respiratory and nasal decongestants can be applied
“Medication used in treatment can be administered in various ways (oral pills, nasal sprays, drops, or creams). These medicines containing the anti-allergy drugs or cortisone are administered at increasing or decreasing doses depending on the patient’s need.”

Doctor determines the need for vaccine treatment
“Immunotherapy, called vaccine therapy, can be considered in patients who do not improve adequately with protective measures and drug therapy. Immunotherapy treatment intends to reduce the reactions given by the immune system by administering to the patient in increasing doses of the allergen, to which the patient is sensitive. This treatment should only be decided by allergy-immunology specialists.”

POINTS TO BE CONSIDERED IN THE POLLEN ALLERGY
– Pollen concentration is the highest in the evenings and in the mornings one or two hours after sunrise. Do not be outdoors at these times.
– During pollen season, avoid outdoor activities such as walks, picnics, or garden activities. Wear sunglasses while you are outdoors.
– You may ventilate your room for the night, but do not leave your windows open after you go to bed.
– Do not keep the windows open while driving. On public transport, sit away from open windows or doors.
– In the evening when you get home, take a shower; change your clothes.
– Do not leave your wet laundry outdoors to dry.
– Do not play sports outdoors during the pollen season.
– Do not go out in windy weather or after the rain when the soil is refreshing.

Watch what you eat in the approaching months of spring!
Common complaints such as fatigue, tiredness, joint pain, sleepiness, memory loss, unhappiness, and stress can be observed in many people during the spring season. The reason to these complaints is the increase in the electric charge in the air, the proliferation of allergens, and the deterioration of hormone balance due to weather change. Dietitian Hazel Doğan from Lokman Hekim Hospital talks about nutritional recommendations to balance hormone and blood values: “The ideal diet to follow in the spring season is the balanced diet of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, proteins (meat, poultry, fish) and dairy products. Seasonal vegetables must be consumed with every meal. Seasonal vegetables or fruits should also be preferred for snacks. Red meat, once weekly; fish, at least twice a week; dry legumes, twice weekly; and 2 cups of yoghurt / milk / kefir daily should be consumed. We should prefer whole grain products (whole wheat, rye, oats) to meet our needs of bread and cereal groups.”

Do not eat heavy and fatty foods at dinner
“We should be careful not to eat particularly heavy and fatty meals at dinner. We should have breakfast in the mornings. We should reduce the amount of caffeinated beverage intake. We should avoid deep-frying and roasting foods. We should drink at least 2-2.5 liters of water a day. We should exercise regularly and take brisk walks for 45 minutes 3 days a week. It is important to consume less fatty foods in spring than you consume in winter, and to prefer organic olive oil.”

Vitamin C protects
“Consumption of rosehip, pepper, and parsley with high vitamin C content will protect you against infections. Fresh vegetables such as parsley, dill, peppermint, squash, and arugula can be consumed every day. Consuming vegetables and salads is beneficial in the aspect of vitamin C intake as well. Every food group needs to be consumed in balance every day (cereal group, meat group, dairy group, vegetable-fruit group). If protein is being consumed at one meal, then the next meal should be rich in vegetables. Carbohydrate-rich foods such as rice, pasta, potatoes should not be overly consumed. Dairy products should be consumed especially at snack times.”