The manifestation of certain symptoms in a given period of the year, featuring the so-called seasonal allergies. This term is often used interchangeably with allergies to pollen, also called pollinosis, or, more commonly, hay fever. As regards allergens such as house dust mite are responsible for perennial allergies, meaning that occur throughout the year.
Although there pollens in atmospheric air throughout the year, which is in spring concentrations are higher. But whether this season as in summer, there are other agents that cause allergic reactions. Some are very serious and can be fatal, but the frequency is low. Sets an example allergy to insect venom.
"When there is a severe reaction to bee or wasp stings, is a medical emergency, and indication for these patients can have a kit for self-administration of epinephrine," mentions Dr Angela Gaspar, Imunoalergologista, stressing: " The most common insects to sting like mosquitoes and gnats, is a reaction limited to the skin, corresponding to vesicular lesions very pruritic (itchy) called scrofulous".
It is also during the summer period in which the elevated temperatures and environment changes and habits often dependent on vacation, condition the appearance of physical urticaria, such as solar urticaria. These patients should wear high sunscreen protection and taking antihistamines.
Why in the spring?
Allergy to pollen is the most common form of seasonal allergy. But why typically occurs in the spring?
Dr Angela Gaspar replied that "in Portugal, as in other Mediterranean countries of Europe, the main cause of allergies to pollens are grasses (hay). These are very common and pollinate in full spring, reaching its peak usually during the months of May and June".
Reactions to Parietaria herb (basil snake) are also common in our country The pollination period is usually wider, symptoms occurring throughout the spring and early summer.
With regard to pollens of trees, the olive tree is the main cause of allergy among the trees in Portugal, and its pollination period in spring.
"The concentrations of airborne pollens depend on the time of pollination, which is specific to each plant coincides in most plants with spring because it gives a temperature rise," underlines the same imunoalergologista adding, "In year to year variations can exist in the main pollen season, with respect to time of year at which the peak of greatest intensity, and in relation to the concentrations observed".
"The explanation", concludes, "lies in the influence of meteorological variables: the occurrence of precipitation (prior to the pollen season) conditions high concentrations of pollens when precipitation stops, with hot days and windy spring, on the contrary, one year dry conditions a less intense spot pollen, particularly plant more sensitive to lack of water, such as grasses".
Profile of subjects
Symptoms occur at the time of high concentration of pollen, being triggered, particularly on buildings, especially in hot weather, dry and windy.
According to Dr. Angela Gaspar, "the symptoms can greatly alter the quality of life of the allergic patient. The pollen allergy is a common cause of allergic manifestations, which may be the respiratory tract (asthma, rhinitis), the eyes (conjunctivitis) or the skin (eczema and urticaria)".
Allergic rhinitis is the most common manifestation. It can reach up to 1/3 of the Portuguese population and is characterized by the occurrence of sneezing, stuffy nose, itchy and the runny nose. These symptoms may be accompanied by allergic conjunctivitis (red eye, tearing, itching and swelling).
Besides rhinitis are also frequent asthma - difficulty breathing, wheezing, cough and tiredness -, urticaria and eczema - skin allergy symptoms. "In many cases, several of these symptoms occur simultaneously. Similarly, often the same complaints were already commonly experienced by parents, siblings, grandparents or uncles, reflecting the family nature of allergic disease", mentions the expert, concluding:
"Confirmation of the diagnosis and identification of the type of pollen you are allergic to be effected by Imunoalergologia medical specialist, combining to history, to perform skin tests and allergy diagnostics laboratory."
Preventive measures for patients allergic to pollens
Dr. Angela Gaspar suggested some ways to prevent seizures caused by allergic pollens. Note:
1 - See Bulletin Pollen
It is available all year round on the official website of SPAIC, Portuguese Society of Allergology and Clinical Immunology (www.spaic.pt) in spring and also in some media, to know the concentrations of pollen in the air (low / moderate / high).
2 - Set your holiday
To avoid contact with a specific pollen to which you are allergic, schedule your vacation electing local low pollen counts (eg, snow, beach). You may know the maximum height of pollination by consulting the bulletin Pollen.
3 - Avoid making outdoor activities
Avoid making outdoor activities when pollen concentrations are high. Walks in the garden, mowing the lawn, camping or sporting activities on the street, will increase exposure to pollens and risk for allergies.
4 - Keep windows closed
Use particle filters very effectively in cars and travel with the windows closed. Motorcyclists must wear full face helmet. At home should keep windows closed when the pollen concentrations are high.
5 - Wear sunglasses
One way to minimize ocular complaints is the use of sunglasses when going out.
6 - Make prescribed medication
The medication is the most effective way to combat the symptoms of allergy to pollens. Consult a physician specialist Imunoalergologia for proper diagnosis and prescription of appropriate treatment. Prevention may involve the implementation of anti-allergic vaccines.
Preventive measures for patients with allergy to insect stings
"There are several measures that patients allergic to insect venom can be taken during the spring and summer and that minimize exposure to insects, such as bees, wasps or mosquitoes," mentions Dr Angela Gaspar.
Aim therefore preventive measures indicated by this expert:
- Avoid places where these insects are usually: flower gardens, fruit trees, fallen logs (where wasps often build nests);
- Avoid perfumes or cosmetics with scents assets; avoid using loose clothing with bright colors or floral patterns;
- Avoid drinking and eating sweets and fruits outdoors; avoid crates and bins;
- Drive with the windows closed, wear a helmet, gloves and keep your body covered as possible when riding a bicycle or motorcycle;
- Never walk barefoot especially on lawns;
- Be very careful when doing fitness / exercise outdoors because the sweat attracts these insects;
- Always walk with your kit / emergency kit, do not leave in the car or at home. Patients with severe reactions to insect stings have indicated to always have a kit for self-administration of epinephrine and should know how to use it, as well as their family and friends so they can help, if needed. These patients should be seen by a specialist Imunoalergologia that will evaluate the indication for performing anti-allergic vaccine in a hospital setting. This type of treatment is highly effective in patients allergic to wasp stings and bee.