As they say - there should be a system in everything. So the fight against hay fever is a whole complex of measures, which should be carried out with due care and maximum responsibility. Unless, of course, your plans include getting a positive result.
All methods of protection against allergies to pollen are divided into preventive and medical. Let's start with a simple one.
Prevention of hay fever - an activity in itself is simple. It is important to remember the basic rules, which over time will become a good habit, and you will observe them without tension, i.e. "On the machine." We immediately warn you - there are 10 of them. But, you know, if you compare, then, for example, we’ll be better at fulfilling all of them with joy than having earned complications, we’ll lie down for a month or two in the hospital with all the ensuing consequences. If you agree, read and remember what needs to be done and what is not needed.
1. Advice from the series “Captain Evidence” - to limit contact with the causative allergen as much as possible - as it turned out, is difficult in practice. After all, pollen, and often along with it spores of molds that can cause a strong immune response, are constantly present in the air during the dusting season. Often their concentration is so high that even a healthy person can feel discomfort. At such moments, a special allergy mask that blocks the flow of harmful antigens, protecting the lungs from irritation, becomes a real salvation.
2. If you find yourself suspicious of seasonal symptoms - a watery runny nose, industrially produced by your nose, endless sneezing, redness of the eyes, excessive tearfulness - and all this disgrace lasts indecently for a long time, you may be allergic to pollen. In order to roughly understand what kind of pest does your immunity react to, put a notebook in a cell - it’s more convenient to draw a tablet in it - and record daily health observations. You can immediately become an advanced allergy sufferer and install the Pollen Club mobile application on your smartphone, where you will keep a Health Diary and share the latest news with fellow sufferers.
3. Once you have collected enough data, put your nose into the Plant Flowering Calendar to roughly guess what you are sneezing at. And with a cheerful confident step, go with this knowledge straight to the allergist. He will prescribe a blood test from a vein to determine allergen-specific antibodies, and you will also check how your analytical and observational abilities correspond to the true picture. If the total level of immunoglobulin E is exceeded, the diagnosis is an allergic reaction. An additional examination will help to identify which allergens are causative.
4. In the case of hay fever, as a rule, 3 periods are distinguished. "Wooden" lasts from March to mid-June, then passes the baton to the meadow grasses that dust in July-August, and the flowering weeds and mold spores complete the season in August-October. Most allergy sufferers respond to one thing — trees, grass, or weeds. However, in especially severe cases, if the allergy is started or has already developed into asthma, seasonal exacerbations run the risk of dragging on from March to October.
5. Ideally, if there is such an opportunity, it is better to leave the city during the dusting of your plant. Here the main thing is not to make a mistake with the place. First, we must remember that the flowering period of the same botanical miracle in different regions begins at different times: first of all, in the south, then in a temperate climate, then in the northern latitudes. Secondly, not every country will suit you, but there are resorts for allergy sufferers. So that while dining in a suspicious Thai restaurant, you do not inadvertently earn anaphylactic shock (and this is very likely: allergy sufferers are extremely sensitive to exotic dishes), it is better to carefully choose the place of rest.
6. From the previous paragraph, you already realized that there is "everything in a row" does not work. And this is because there is such an unpleasant thing as “cross allergy”. Its essence is that eating "relatives" of your allergen in terms of protein structure enhances the allergic reaction at times. The latter, by the way, can develop instantly. The situation is so dangerous that in some cases emergency hospitalization is required to save the life of an allergic person. Do you want to risk your health? If not, then remember once and for all all the foods that you can’t eat with exacerbation of hay fever. Their list will be given by the attending physician.
7. Diet with hay fever is not the greatest evil. Very often, causative allergens are part of cosmetics. And if you do not have a good habit of reading the composition on the label, then your carelessness will almost certainly have adverse consequences. Be especially careful with soaps, shampoos, creams and balms based on herbal ingredients.
8. You can unforgivably make a mistake even in the case when you take an allergy for ARVI and begin to be treated with proven grandmother's remedies: herbal tea, honey and inhalations based on essential oils. All of the above in your case are “anti-drugs,” to everything else - the strongest provocateurs of an attack, if the allergy is of plant origin.
9. In those hot and windy days, when pollen is larger than usual in the air, and the wind carries it over long distances, it is better to refrain from walking. Wait for the rain. Water will reduce pollen activity. At such moments, breathing is much easier. If you don’t feel like sitting in the room, then go outside, only without sudden movements and in special equipment. Sunglasses, a hat, closed clothing made from natural lightweight fabrics and a respirator for allergy sufferers are just what you need. Upon return, be sure to take a shower and send your clothes to the laundry.
10. Make it a rule to regularly visit an allergist. Being under the supervision of a doctor and timely treatment of allergies are reliable guarantees that unforeseen exacerbations do not occur. It is important to know: any therapeutic measures are carried out exclusively during the period of remission. During active dusting, symptomatic therapy is used. Unfortunately, modern medicine has not yet come up with a magic pill that allows you to get rid of allergies once and for all. However, an integrated systematic approach is quite able to minimize unpleasant manifestations and significantly improve the quality of life of an allergic person.
Today, doctors know dozens of plant species that can turn our lives into real torture with the advent of the warm season. When blooming, they secrete pollen, which is carried by the wind and enters the mucous membranes of the nose and eyes.
For a healthy person, pollen poses no danger. However, in hypersensitive people, it causes a number of characteristic symptoms: runny nose, lacrimation, sneezing, redness of the eyes, itching of the eyelids, palate and tongue, urticaria, cough. Typically, these symptoms appear within 5 to 10 minutes after contact with the allergen, but sometimes it can take several hours or even days. In some ways, the symptoms of hay fever are similar to the manifestations of the common cold. The main difference between pollen allergy and SARS is that it always occurs at the same time of the year (usually in spring or summer).
Modern medicine does not fully know why a person develops an allergy. There are several versions on this subject.
If one of the parents suffers from hay fever, the child can inherit it in 40% of cases, and when both the father and mother are prone to allergies, the likelihood of its development increases almost twice and makes up 75%.
2) Food quality
According to statistics, against the background of constant consumption of foods with chemical additives in food, the number of allergy sufferers is increasing every year.
3) Bad ecology
In cities, there are always more allergy sufferers than in rural areas.
4) Immunity failure
Some scientists are of the opinion that allergy is a protective reaction of the body to the invasion of specific allergen proteins, in large quantities contained in grains of flower and wood pollen.
What usually causes allergies?
From the beginning of April to the end of May - birch, alder, poplar.
From June to July, cereal herbs bloom (timothy grass, bluegrass, fescue, rye, wheat, chaff).
From late July to early September - weedy herbs (wormwood, quinoa).
How does an allergy develop?
1) Pollen enters the mucous membranes of the nose, eyes, and bronchi.
2) The immune system responds by secreting antibodies.
3) Antibodies bind to the allergen, leading to the release of histamine.
4) An increase in histamine levels causes allergy symptoms.
There are a huge number of molds "living" in "damp places" - under the ceiling near leaks, in basements and in damp attics. The most common “dusty” mushrooms are the cladosporium and alternaria. They can cause allergy symptoms in a person throughout the year.
To identify what exactly causes your characteristic symptoms, so-called skin tests will help. To make a diagnosis, the doctor applies droplets of various allergens to the inside of the forearm and makes small scratches. After a quarter of an hour, the reaction is evaluated. In the area where the skin turned red and swollen, the same causative allergen is located.
Such a study should be carried out only in the “safe” period, when there is no exacerbation of hay fever (in autumn or winter), and not earlier than 3 to 5 days after the end of taking antihistamines. Another common diagnostic method is a blood test to determine specific immunoglobulins for various allergens.
You can only take those anti-allergenic (antihistamines) drugs that are prescribed by a specialist - an allergist or immunologist. An excellent means of preventing hay fever is a course of allergen-specific immunotherapy (ASIT). It allows you to get rid of unpleasant symptoms, if not forever, then for a long time. Therapies are always preceded by skin tests and a blood test.
With the passage of ASIT, a little allergen is introduced into the body with a certain frequency - starting with small doses and gradually increasing them.
At the first stage, as a rule, subcutaneous allergens are injected daily for two weeks, then one injection per month. The process must be completed two weeks before the start of flowering of "dangerous" plants. As a result, when faced with a large amount of allergen, the immune system does not react to it as sharply as before, and the symptoms of hay fever “erase” or completely disappear. One course of ASIT takes several months. They must be repeated. Noticeable improvements are already visible in the first year of treatment, and to achieve the maximum effect, 3 to 5 courses are required (one per year).
Antihistamines are divided into two types - short-acting and long-acting. The former have a hypnotic effect, while the latter do not (they are optimal for daily and long-term use).
If you do not have time to take the vaccine course, then two weeks before the expected flowering (when the buds on the trees swell and “catkins” appear), start taking prophylactic drugs and use nasal sprays. Of course, this will not relieve the symptoms of allergies, but it will be much easier to proceed.
Allergy Survival Course
The easiest way to avoid exacerbation of hay fever is to limit contact with the allergen, for example, to leave for the entire flowering period in another region, preferably to the sea or mountains. However, such an opportunity is not always available.
To ease the course of hay fever, follow these tips
1) Try to leave the house as little as possible. The peak concentration of pollen in the air is in the morning from 6.00 to 10.00 and in the evening from 18.00 to 22.00. Try not to appear on the street at this time.
2) Tighten the windows with a net and pull the curtains tightly. The window and windows should be opened only at night, when the concentration of allergens in the air is minimal.
3) Wet the room daily; purchase an air conditioner or air purifier. Carpets, furniture, and other interior items that can accumulate dust should be disposed of. Feather pillows are best replaced with synthetic-filled pillows.
4) In the flowering season, people with allergies should not go out of town for long walks, especially in warm windy weather. It is better to walk after rain, when pollen is “nailed” to the ground, and does not fly in the air. If you need to go out, it is recommended to use "protective" means - glasses, a hat. Wear long-sleeved clothing.
5) Arriving home, immediately take a shower, wash your face and rinse your hair. It is also useful to rinse your throat and rinse your nose: this will clear the mucous membranes of allergens. Be sure to remove outdoor clothing (send it for washing or place in a closed cabinet).
6) For the flowering period, abandon cosmetics, deodorants, creams, shampoos, lotions and shower gels with extracts of herbs and flowers.
7) Always carry antihistamines and special drops for the nose and eyes, which relieve the attack within 15 minutes.
A lot of difficulties for people suffering from hay fever, brings the so-called cross allergy. Some foods, herbal remedies, and even drinks may contain the same annoying ingredients as pollen. According to experts, about a third of all allergy sufferers are “crosshairs”.
Those who are allergic to tree pollen should not eat some tree fruits (nuts, apples), as well as cherries, cherries, plums and carrots. It is better to refuse fruit wines and vodka and birch sap.
If you are sensitive to pollen of cereal herbs, you should limit the consumption of bakery products and cereals (except buckwheat) and stop using “cereal” drinks - vodka, beer, kvass and whiskey.
If the symptoms of hay fever appear after contact with weeds, it is recommended to abandon the use of sunflower oil and products based on it (mayonnaise, mustard, halva). Do not get involved in sunflower seeds, tomatoes, melons, watermelons and other melons. In addition, you have to forget about vermouth and cognac, which contain herbs.
The end of spring - the beginning of summer, it's time to throw the cry "Everything to nature!". But barbecue, picnics, cycling routes are not accessible to everyone. According to statistics, one in ten of us suffers from hay fever. The mechanism for the development of the disease is simple: pollen of flowering plants enters the mucous membrane of the nose, eyes and mouth, penetrates the bronchi, settles on the skin and allergic reactions begin. The immune system mistakenly takes a harmless substance (pollen) for the enemy and immediately includes protective mechanisms.
Hay fever manifests itself in different ways, but most often it is a watery runny nose, frequent sneezing, swelling of the sinuses, eyelids, and lacrimation. In addition to the classic symptoms, some have an unbearably itching bright pink rash on the chest, back, buttocks, and hips - urticaria.
The most formidable manifestation of hay fever is seasonal bronchial asthma. Its first harbingers are asthma attacks, whistling, wheezing during breathing. By the way, in the flowering season, choking can also provoke plant products that usually do not cause allergies in you - apples, nuts, bananas.
Is it written on the family?
Most often, hay fever first appears in childhood, especially if the child has inherited a tendency to allergies from mom or dad. "Troubles" begin with food allergic reactions, and by the age of three or four, most small allergies begin to respond to pollen.
“An innate predisposition, of course, cannot be discounted,” says allergist Inna Alekseeva. - But today we often encounter hay fever, first manifested from 18 to 40 years. How to explain this? There is no comprehensive answer yet. But it is clear that the provoking factors are poor ecology (residents of big cities prevail among the victims of the disease), lifestyle (poor nutrition, stress, smoking - all this weakens the immune system). And of course, such common chronic diseases as bronchitis, asthma, rhinitis.
We are looking for the culprits
Since hay fever is a disease associated with the "breakdown" of the immune system, it is impossible to cure it once and for all, alas. But this does not mean at all that it is imperative to suffer the full program every season. It is quite possible to do without tears and a sneeze, only you need to be treated correctly. And for this, first of all, you need to know the enemy with whom you have to fight.
There are different methods for detecting allergens. For example, skin tests, during which scratches or injections are made in the forearm and droplets of various allergens are applied. After 20 minutes - examination by a doctor. If swelling like a blister appears at the site of application, the reaction to the allergen is positive. Это надежный способ выявления аллергена, но у него есть один недостаток: проводить кожные пробы в сезон цветения нельзя – это может обострить аллергические реакции, поэтому такую диагностику используют только с ноября по март.
А как искать виновника в другое время? Для этого существует специальный анализ крови из вены. Он позволяет выявить концентрацию защитных белков – иммуноглобулинов класса Е, которые образуются в ответ на действие того или иного аллергена.
Наперегонки с болезнью
The best way to defeat hay fever is to try to prevent an outbreak of seasonal allergies. Today, there are many drugs that prevent the development of allergic reactions. The course of prevention should be started in advance, 10-15 days before the expected exacerbation. It’s easy to calculate the hour “H”, knowing the flowering calendar of plants allergic for you.
Recently, another interesting method of protection has appeared - a spray for the nose, which includes finely divided cellulose. Squirted into the nose one or two times - and a protective film forms on the mucous membrane, which creates a barrier to the allergen. Such a spray is used throughout the season.
There is another effective way of prevention - allergen-specific immunotherapy. In fact, it is used to treat various allergic diseases, but it is with pollinosis that its effectiveness is maximal: in 80–90% of patients it is possible either to sharply reduce allergic manifestations, or to eliminate exacerbations for several years. By the way, this method prevents the transition of mild forms of the disease into severe ones.
But such treatment should be carried out only by an allergist after a thorough examination (that is, you must know what allergens your body reacts to). The essence of the method is in the "training" of the immune system. First, an “allergen provocateur” (its artificial counterpart) is administered in negligible doses, gradually increasing them. These are injections or drops in the mouth or nose. The course is designed for 1-2 months, begin it 3-4 months before the beginning of the flowering season. Repeat this prophylactic procedure for 3-5 years. However, this method, unfortunately, has contraindications: diabetes, severe diseases of the kidneys, nervous and endocrine systems.
Line of defense
Well, if you are still late and failed to prevent an exacerbation? At an early stage, while everything is limited to itching, sneezing, runny nose, the doctor usually prescribes antihistamines. They inhibit the production of histamine - a substance that the body produces to "defend" against an allergen. The second and third generation drugs are most effective in this case, and their side effects are minimal.
But if the process "started" - nasal congestion appeared, swelling - then additional assistants are already needed. And the doctor connects vasoconstrictor drugs - drops, aerosols. They significantly improve the condition. However, they cannot be used for more than a week, because such drugs can lead to the so-called drug rhinitis, when a runny nose and nasal congestion pass from the rank of an allergic to an ENT disease, which will have to be treated for a long and difficult time.
But what if the hay fever broke through both lines of defense and continues an active offensive? In such situations, local hormonal preparations are used - aerosols for the nose and respiratory tract, eye ointment. But in this case there can be no single treatment regimen, we are all different, and we are ill, of course, differently. Therefore, do not experiment on yourself - be treated under the supervision of an experienced allergist!
Proper nutrition helps to aggravate or calm the manifestations of hay fever. Pollen allergens can cross-react with food and drink, this can cause a sharp deterioration. For example, if you are allergic to birch blossoms, you should not eat apples, cherries, potatoes, cucumbers and onions during the dangerous period. And for those who suffer from the pollen of flowering herbs, during an exacerbation, cereals, beets, green soups should be excluded from your menu.
There are general rules for seasonal allergy sufferers. Try not to drink beer, kvass during the flowering season, do not add greens (parsley, dill, cilantro) to dishes, do not get carried away with sauces, pasta. However, the best option is to choose “personal” exceptions from the usual diet with an allergist.
AiF Health recommends
Protection against hay fever is not just about taking medication. There are a few simple rules to follow if you suffer from seasonal allergies.
► Every time you return from the street, take a shower and change into clean clothes. Rinse your nose and gargle with ready-made saline solution (available at the pharmacy) or prepare the solution yourself: one third of a teaspoon of salt in a glass of water.
► During an exacerbation of the disease, remove all carpets and carpets, vacuum the apartment daily and wash the floors in the house.
► Do not dry laundered items on the balcony or outside.
► Install a purifier and a humidifier in the apartment.