With the arrival of spring, pollen started to spread around. Pollen, which causes the onset of symptoms in people with allergies, can also cause an aggravation and exacerbation of symptoms in people with eye allergies and allergic rhinitis. We can cause coronavirus transmission due to allergy-related symptoms. President of Allergy and Asthma Association Prof. Dr. Ahmet Akçay gave important information on the subject.
Allergic rhinitis, eye allergy and pollen
Common causes of allergic rhinitis and eye allergies are house dust mites, pollens, pet allergens and molds. With the arrival of spring, life can be a nightmare for those with allergic rhinitis and eye allergies due to pollen. If your symptoms such as frequent colds, nasal congestion, sneezing, watery eyes and itching appear in the spring months when pollen appears, you have a pollen allergy. Among the pollens, especially tree pollens start in February and March. Grass pollen occurs in May and June, and weed pollen in autumn.
Pollen Can Also Affect Allergic Asthma
Allergy-related asthma is the most common form of asthma. If your asthma is especially due to a pollen allergy, the symptoms of the disease will be triggered by inhaling the allergens. There can be many different causes such as allergens, dust mites, pet hair, pollen or mold. In allergic asthma, allergens trigger a response that starts in the immune system. Through a complex reaction, these allergens then cause inflammation of the bronchi in the airways of the lungs. This inflammation is what causes coughing, wheezing, and other asthma symptoms. Exposure to allergens can trigger asthma symptoms.
What are the symptoms of allergic asthma, allergic rhinitis and eye allergy?
Symptoms of allergic rhinitis, allergic asthma and eye allergy can vary from person to person. In some people, their symptoms can be severe enough to affect the flow of daily life. In this case, one can neither be successful in school nor be successful in business life. Because life has already become a nightmare for us
Symptoms of allergic asthma include:
- Chest tightness,
- Shortness of breath.
- Symptoms of allergic rhinitis include:
- Nasal congestion,
- Runny nose
- Watery eyes,
- Redness and irritation in the eyes,
- Irritation in the throat
- Symptoms of an eye allergy include:
- Intense itching in the eyes and the urge to rub the eyes,
- Red eyes
- Watery or white, mucus discharge.
- Swollen eyelids.
Can allergic rhinitis and eye allergy increase the risk of coronavirus transmission?
Pollen exposure weakens immunity against viruses by reducing the antiviral interferon response. If waves of infection coincide with high pollen concentrations in the air, it contributes to Coronavirus transmission.
If allergic rhinitis and eye allergy are due to pollens, symptoms such as itching in the nose, flu, nasal congestion, and itching in the eyes occur with the emergence of pollens. As a result, hands frequently touch the nose and eyes, as a result, coronavirus is transmitted more easily from the surrounding area. At the same time, if an allergic person has a coronavirus, it is easier for us to infect others with the coronavirus by sneezing, touching the environment by hands touching the nose and eyes. For these reasons, it is very important to treat those with allergic diseases to prevent symptoms as the pollen emerges.
How to Differentiate Allergic Flu and Coronavirus?
While those with coronavirus have high fever, weakness, muscle pain, smell and taste problems, those with allergic rhinitis and eye allergies due to pollen allergy do not have these symptoms. Consecutive sneezing and nasal itching are at the forefront in those with allergic rhinitis. Since high fever is less in young children, allergic rhinitis and Coronavirus are more confused with each other. However, the fact that consecutive sneezing and nasal itching in children are in the foreground should bring allergic flu to mind.
How is the diagnosis of allergic rhinitis and asthma?
Your family history and medical history are also important in diagnosing allergic rhinitis and eye allergy. The allergist will examine your medical and family history after a detailed review. Subsequently, your allergist can do some tests to determine the trigger, the substance that causes the symptoms. These tests may include a skin test, a blood test, and a molecular allergy test.
Molecular allergy testing for pollen allergy
Molecular allergy testing will be very useful, especially if your pollen allergy is very serious. Molecular allergy test will be useful for the diagnosis of oral allergy syndrome, especially in people with symptoms such as itching in the mouth and swelling of the lips. Whether there is vegetable, fruit and nut allergy due to cross reaction to pollen allergy can also be revealed by this test. With this test, true allergies can be distinguished from cross reactions. In this way, it can be revealed which allergens should be included in the allergy vaccine and whether the sublingual allergy vaccine will be beneficial.
Treatment of allergic rhinitis and eye allergy
The most effective method in the treatment of allergies is to avoid the allergen that causes the allergy. However, when it comes to pollen, it may not be possible to avoid. Because pollen is found everywhere in the air with the effect of the wind and harms allergy sufferers. For this reason, treatment may be required. There are various treatment methods for allergic rhinitis and eye allergy. These treatment methods may vary according to the person's symptoms and the severity of the symptoms. Drug therapy, vaccine therapy and avoidance methods can be used in the treatment of eye allergies and allergic rhinitis.
Some medications can be used to relieve reaction symptoms. Various medications such as antihistamines, decongestants, eye drops, nasal sprays and corticosteroids can be used in treatment. Some of these medications are available without a prescription. However, an allergist should be consulted before using medication. Otherwise, incorrectly used drugs may cause symptoms to come back, while unnecessary drug use may also bring some side effects.
Immunotherapy (Vaccine Therapy - Allergy Vaccine)
If you have severe allergies, your doctor may recommend immunotherapy, or allergy vaccine, as it is known. You can use this treatment plan with medications to control your symptoms. These vaccines reduce your immune response to certain allergens over time. This method of treatment is a long-term treatment and has a very high success rate. Allergy vaccines are recommended especially for people using medication for a long time and for people with severe symptoms.
Thanks to allergy vaccines, complaints disappear, the need for medication is eliminated, and as a result, the quality of life increases. Vaccine treatment should be done and followed by an allergist. Molecular allergy testing should be used for an effective allergy vaccine for those with too much pollen allergy. Vaccine treatment is a treatment method that can continue for 3-5 years. The effect of the vaccine emerges after the 6th month of vaccine treatment. If the benefit of the vaccine does not appear within 12 months with the vaccine treatment, the vaccine treatment is discontinued. In case of success in vaccine treatment, the effect of the vaccine continues for 5-10 years after the vaccine is discontinued. Even if the symptoms will return after 5-10 years, the symptoms will not be as high as before.
Avoiding pollen allergy
There are some ways that people with pollen allergies can follow to reduce symptoms. These methods can be detailed as follows:
When should people with pollen allergy go out?
- During the pollen season, the density of airborne pollen is not the same; It may vary from day to day or even within the same day. People with pollen allergy need to take into account their pollen count when they go outside.
- Pollen density usually begins to increase in the morning hours, peaks at noon and gradually decreases. Pollen is at its lowest during the day, before sunrise and in the evening.
- However, this situation varies. Even in the evening, when pollen numbers are intense, there is a lot of pollen.
Pollen density is affected by weather conditions
- In windy weather, pollen stays in the air and its spreading areas increase.
- In rainy weather, the pollen concentration in the air drops very significantly.
- Pollen density is indicated in meteorology reports; these reports need to be followed up.
- When you go out during the pollen season, you can wear a visor hat, wide goggles and a mask.
- When you return home, change your clothes, wash your hair and face with plenty of water, take a shower if possible.
- You should avoid activities such as mowing the lawn and collecting dry leaves.
- Special gels applied around the nose can retain pollen and prevent it from entering the nose.
- Protection of living spaces
- Take care to keep doors and windows closed when pollen is intense.
- Do not dry your clothes outside during the pollen season.
- Use a pollen filter air conditioner in your home and car.
- Keep the windows closed while driving.
As a result, people with pollen allergy, which is the cause of allergic rhinitis, eye allergy and asthma, should be more careful in the spring months and start treatment early when symptoms are seen, and it will be a very important treatment approach against coronavirus transmission. It will also be very beneficial for those with allergy symptoms to stay away from public areas, pay attention to masks and distance and frequent hand washing.