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Yesterday, September 22, was the spring equinox. It means that new shoots appear on trees, bushes or plants and also from sneezing, nasal congestion, watery eyes and other discomfort to reign in the days of many people.

The spring season is synonymous with seasonal allergy or allergic rhinitis, affecting about 400 million people in the world, according to the World Health Organization, being the most common among the various allergic diseases that have a prevalence of between 20 to over 30% of the population and in Chile it is estimated that the figure is higher.

The allergy can be chronic and its manifestations occur throughout the year, but the doctor Tamara Perez, immunologist at Clínica Biobío, clarifies that the rise in pictures and allergic crises in spring is due to the appearance of pollens in the environment and whose circulation can last until summer. Pollens are one of the most allergenic substances (there are many and they cause different types of allergies) and upon contact with them, which enter through mucous membranes exposed to the air, the immune system reacts in an “exaggerated” way to trigger different manifestations. These can be very annoying and interfere with daily life, varying in intensity and severity, with more complex and severe cases of respiratory symptoms such as allergic asthma. Also note that there are cases “with manifestations at the skin level such as hives or worsening of some dermatitis”.

Control measures

What is relevant is that allergies can be effectively control in the vast majority of cases, says Dr. Pérez, with approaches that are indicated according to the allergy and include pharmacological and non-pharmacological actions. And the latter are defined as basic and are related to environmental control to avoid or minimize exposure to the allergen and prevent reaction.
In pollens, the immunologist clarifies that they are suspended in the air and more in the vicinity of trees, grasses or plants and it is during the mornings when there is greater concentration in the environment. He also states that “the pollen concentration varies according to the geographical area and in Concepción the worst months are November, December and January”.

Therefore, avoiding being in direct contact with grasses or plants is key, as well as not exercising or doing outdoor activities during times/seasons of greater concentration and always wearing glasses outdoors. Being careful with the hours also calls for opening windows (home or car) or hanging clothes to dry outdoors. Keeping the home clean or always changing the clothes worn outdoors when you get home are other pillar avoidance measures in people with allergies, he points out.

It also warns that “some fruits may have a certain resemblance to the composition of pollens and trigger allergic reactions”. In the group there are species such as peach, melon or banana, whose consumption should be avoided by people allergic to pollen.

In the treatment with drugs, the first indicated are intranasal antihistamines or decongestants, specifies Dr. María Paz Salin, IntegraMédica’s otorhinolaryngologist. “When the symptoms are very intense and treatment with antihistamines is not enough, a nasal corticosteroid inhaler should be used, which must be indicated by a specialist,” ensures.

always consult

It becomes evident that for proper management there must be a correct diagnosis of the allergy that derives in the necessary medical indication of treatment with medications and education to take control measures. For this reason, when allergic is suspected or diagnosed always consult a doctor and go for regular check-ups, hopefully before the start of the “worst period” or due to exacerbation of the crisis, to adjust treatments. What must always be avoided is self-medication and abuse, because all medications can have side effects or associated risks that must be evaluated and monitored.

And to consult, Dr. Salin knows that it is relevant differentiate between allergic rhinitis and common cold which is caused by viruses, but they can be confused by sharing or resembling in manifestations. In the allergy he details that “ssymptoms such as repetitive sneezing and itchy nose, throat and eyes occur intermittently and persistently. With colds there are fewer sneezes and no itchy nose”. But, what he defines as most distinctive is that in a condition caused by a respiratory virus there is “commitment of the general state”, with muscle and throat pain, possibility of fever and often rapid affectation of the respiratory function that does not occur in allergies.

Main symptoms of allergic rhinitis:

-Runny and stuffy nose;
-watery, red and itchy eyes (allergic conjunctivitis);
-sneezing;
-cough;
-itchy nose, palate or throat;
-swollen and blue skin under the eyes (allergic black eyes);
-postnasal drip or excess mucus in the back of the throat;
-fatigue.

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