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Indian Scientists analyze gaps in implementation to reduce pollen allergy

Indian Scientists analyze gaps in implementation to reduce pollen allergy

Indian Scientists suggest that large-scale measures such as the development of pollen forecast systems, training of health care professionals, and personal measures like using face masks, spectacles and air filters, regularly taking prescription medications, limiting outdoor exposure, and avoiding grass-cutting or gardening during peak pollen season could help to reduce the onset and severity of allergy symptoms.

They highlighted the need for proper information regarding pollen allergy and allergen avoidance, symptoms, and management to better treat the condition. As the weather changes, spring is in full bloom. Trees, grasses, weeds and trees release fine bioaerosol particles called pollen to fertilize similar plants. However, pollen entering the nasal pathways could cause pollen allergy—with symptoms somewhat similar to common flu and cold. The urban environment is likely to increase the incidence of pollen-related skin and respiratory diseases.

In light of this, Professor Ravindra Khaiwal (Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research), Chandigarh, and Ms. AkshiGoyal (PGIMER), Ph.D. research scholar, and Chairperson, Department of Environment Studies examined the implementation gaps to minimize pollen allergy disease and suffering. Their study, supported in part by the Department of Science and Technology of India (DST), was published in the International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health.

The study sought to identify the main causes of widespread allergy to pollen and the gaps in their implementation. It also suggested key adaptive measures that could be used to reduce the incidence and severity of allergic reactions. It was primarily focused on countries with lower and middle incomes.

Prof. Ravindra Khaiwal said that submicronic-pollen particles may act as breathing particles, reaching deeper into the airways. This could lead to an increase in asthma, chronic obstructive and other allergic diseases (COPD). He stated that pollen allergy is a serious illness that can lead to morbidity and negatively impact the quality of life for patients. Pollen allergy has become more common over the past several decades. It affects about 10%–30% of adults and 20%–25% of children worldwide and has increased owing to urbanization, air pollution, and climate change.

Dr. Suman Mor, Chairperson, Department of Environment Studies, Panjab University, Chandigarh, highlighted the four levels of strategies suggested by them– individual level, health care communities and organizations, Local Governments, National/International Governments levels, to decrease the risk of illnesses associated with pollen allergy.

Prof. Khaiwal stated that the peak pollen season is a time when attention must be paid to the most affected sub-populations of allergic asthma, rhinitis, or eczema sufferers. Multi-stakeholder engagement is key to minimizing the impact of pollen allergy. He also stressed the importance of focusing on education to increase capacity in aerobiological and forecasting research, as well as training health care professionals.

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Ms. Akshi Goji, DST-INSPIRE Ph.D. Scholar at Panjab University Chandigarh said that the research gave her the opportunity to understand the severity and impact of pollen allergy in changing climate. Studies like these would encourage young scientists into a career in aerobiology to lower preventable health risks.

(With Inputs From PIB)

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