It is well known that the months from February to April; and from August to October are recognised as pollen seasons in Delhi. This is a time when residents need to take extra precautions to not fall ill. With the air quality being hazardous throughout the year, the pollen in the air puts an added pressure on our lungs. Needless to say, the long battle with Covid has also left our conditions weaker than usual.
During allergy seasons there is a huge influx of patients suffering from sneezes and sniffles, water discharge, stuffy nose etc. Many experience irritation in their eyes and nostrils. These are just some of the symptoms.
Cannabis, Ricinus, Amarnath, Morus and Eucalyptus are some of the pollen acting as allergens. Other factors which cause irritations include smoke, mold, dust and mites, bacterial and viral infections, weather change etc.
People who are at a higher risk of developing allergy include people who travel every day. Those with prevailing respiratory conditions such as asthma are prone to developing symptoms during these months. The pollen along with viral and bacterial agents, coupled with unhealthy air are regarded as the main reasons for a surge in patients.
Symptoms of allergies include persistent and excessive coughing, nasal and chest congestion, sneezing, breathing difficulty, sinusitis. Rashes and itching on the body are also symptoms.
It is important to note that fever is not a symptom of allergy. If one has fever, they should rest and not move out of their house. If they have other symptoms as well, they should get tested for Covid or any other infections.
Such allergies do not have a permanent cure, they have to be dealt with every time they come along. Hence prevention is the best bet. We must start at home and make sure no part of our house is damp. We must thoroughly dust corners. If there are dust mites, it is best to call up a pest control agency to take care of the situation. Regularly washing bed sheets is very effective as well.
Drying out clothes in the open is one of the ways in which pollen can stick to them and enter our nostrils. Hence we must not leave clothes outside for longer than required. Old books and newspapers give out particulate matter, hence one must call the kabadi wala regularly and dispose of such items.
When venturing out, masks are compulsory. In the pollen season they provide an added barrier between the air and our nostrils. In the long run, we must continue using masks even when this Covid fiasco is over. In our heavily polluted environment, it is the least we can do to shield our body.
Air purifiers and humidifiers should be used by those who can afford it. Though they work in a limited area, they are effective in controlling the allergens. Humidifiers are useful in places which have drier weather, such as Delhi. If you work in a big company and need to go to the office, it is advisable to write to your HR and get an air purifier installed.
It is possible that one takes all the necessary precautions but is still susceptible to allergies. After all we are talking about microscopic particles rapidly spreading all around us. In case of an allergic reaction it is important to act before the allergy flares up.
You must quickly go for a test to find out the root cause of the allergy. As we saw above, there can be various culprits and taking the right medication for the right cause is important. Over-the-counter antihistamines such as fexofenadine and cetirizine provide quick relief in case of incessant coughing/ sneezing.
Skin-prick tests, measurement of eosinophils and IgE antibody levels, patch tests are the commonly available methods. They do have one limitation though. A single test may not be able to point out all the allergens triggering the reaction. So it is possible that you may need multiple tests.
While being diagnosed for an allergic reaction it is important to inform the doctor of any family medical history since allergies are widely genetic and this information could help the doctor give you suitable medicines.
Though these allergies won’t cause any serious medical emergency, they can be problematic and painful if they flare up. They can cause hindrance in work, reduce our concentration and interfere with our sleep. Hence going for tests ASAP is important.