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Allergy In Winter

Why I Always Get Allergy In Winter

By M. F.PaulPublished about a year ago 4 min read
Allergy In Winter
Photo by Spencer Backman on Unsplash

“Twenty-five years ago it was believed that only 2 percent of the population had an allergy to cupresaceae pollen. Today, almost 40 percent of those allergic to pollens are allergic to this type of plant -occupying third place on the list, after grasses and olive trees-", reviews Ángel Moral, president of the Aerobiology Committee of the Spanish Society of Allergology and Clinical Immunology (Seaic) . In reality, it is not that the number of people with allergies has increased (also), but rather that this percentage increase is mainly due to two reasons. “On the one hand, it was thought that cupresaceae did not cause allergy problems because, by pollinating in winter, cases were confused with colds.. On the other hand, allergy tests were not well detected. Later the technique improved,” says the expert.

The Cupresaceae family of plants, which includes the Arizonans, is one of the oldest on Earth. One example is garden hedges planted in housing estates, single-family homes, schools, and parks, and another is cypress trees . “More and more are being planted because they grow very fast and provide a lot of shade. In addition, its perennial leaf allows it to act as a wall”, says Moral. This is another reason for the increased prevalence of pollen allergy in winter.

In what month do they start to 'give the can'?

“ The pollination of cupresaceae is determined by temperature factors . The level of rainfall, or rainfall, does not influence, as happens with grasses (whose pollination occurs in spring, acting as allergens in that season of the year)," says Francisco Feo, member of the Seaic Aerobiology Committee.

"Since climate change is doing its thing, the pollination of cupresaceae was being activated in mid-January, and even earlier, already in the month of December," explains Feo. However, “this season, due to the low temperatures that we are having throughout Spain, the pollination of cupresaceae has started later because the plants have become lethargic due to the cold . The logical thing is that if the start is delayed, the disappearance will also be delayed, since the life cycle of plants is usually three or four months”, says Moral.

As has been said before, the temperature is what determines that the cupresaceae begin to affect those allergic to this pollen at one time or another during the winter. “As allergists, these days of January it has caught our attention that practically no patients with allergies have come to consultations . Now they will begin to arrive showing allergic symptoms, ”says Moral.

The reason is that only 10 percent of pollen grains per cubic meter of air of this species have yet been reached, which is usually reached at this time of year. "In the case of cupresaceae, 135 grains is considered a high level. This figure has only been exceeded in Barcelona, ​​with 220 grains; Jaén, with 170; and Lérida, with 150."

Pollution also has something to do with the effect of pollen on allergy sufferers. “The pollen collected in cities with the highest level of pollution is more aggressive than that collected in less polluted cities. We have verified our hypothesis through a study carried out by the Ciudad Real Hospital and financed by the Carlos III Health Institute , in Madrid”, says Feo.

And it is that climate change has three direct consequences on allergies: an increase in pollen production, since plants grow more as a result of the increase in temperature and carbon dioxide (CO2); a longer exposure time for allergic patients due to longer pollination months (flowering of plant species begins earlier and ends later, compared to times prior to climate change); and, finally, the pollens become more aggressive due to the oxidative stress caused by the contaminants to the plants . For all this, it is expected that in 2030 almost 50 percent of the population will have some allergic disease. This is how the members of the Seaic explain it.

How to distinguish allergy from cold?

In allergic patients, pollens from cupresaceae or arizonicas cause mild itching of the nose and few sneezes, as well as a great nasal obstruction or blockage . This causes the symptoms to be confused with those of a common cold. To distinguish one disease from another, Feo specifies the characteristics of each one:

“The maximum duration of a cold is a week , and is usually accompanied by fever, malaise and sore throat. However, the allergy lasts several weeks, but the discomfort depends on the number of pollen grains per cubic meter that circulate in the air each day. People with allergies have a more liquid and abundant nasal secretion, sneezing, tearing, itching and red eyes. If you also have asthma , you will have a dry cough and wheezing in your chest and difficulty breathing”, recalls Feo.

Regarding treatment, antihistamines are available for pollen allergy and, in the most persistent cases, local topical treatment with corticosteroids. While for colds, therapy to relieve symptoms is based on paracetamol and mucolytics.

Recommendations for those allergic to cupresaceae

Moral advises following these guidelines if you are allergic to cupresaceae:

  • Avoid going out to do physical exercise outdoors on windy days , mainly in areas with cypresses and in urbanizations or sports fields due to the number of hedges they usually have.
  • Make use of masks , which prevent pollen from entering your airways. They are recommended because they have been found to be very effective.
  • Use the medications that your specialists have recommended .


About the Creator

M. F.Paul

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