Between eight and twelve million Germans suffer from hay fever, they suffer every year from a runny nose and itchy eyes. Every sixth person is allergic to the sun. Each 13 percent suffer from a food allergy or an allergy to dust mites. 4% complain of a mildew allergy.
Number of allergy sufferers is increasing
More and more and younger people are struggling with allergies, the dark figure of unrecognized allergies is also very high. The reasons for the increasing number of allergy sufferers is not known exactly.
Responsible are among others:
- a changed lifestyle
- environmental pollution
- wrong diet
Allergic cold - what is behind it?
Allergic rhinitis is roughly divided into two groups: There is the allergic cold caused by trees, grasses or herbs to the pollen time (hay fever) and the allergic rhinitis, which is caused by other substances and can occur all year round.
The main causes of hay fever are three groups of pollen:
- Early flowering trees between February and May
- Grasses and cereals between May and July
- Certain herbs in early autumn
The most common form is the allergy to grass pollen. Three quarters of all hay fever patients are allergic to grass or tree pollen. More than half of all hay fever pollen native to us belong to a group of about a dozen plants. So it's worth finding out what you're allergic to.
What to do with hay fever?
The first measure of hay fever is allergen avoidance. However, the contact can mostly be avoided. In any case, it is important to visit the doctor in time to initiate the correct therapy. Medication significantly relieves the symptoms and, if taken consistently, breaks the process of inflammation in hay fever. With only mild discomfort, the doctor can prescribe a preventive therapy with cromoglycic acid.
Another possibility is the so-called desensitization, a specific immunotherapy for hay fever. Smaller amounts of the triggering allergen are repeatedly injected under increasing pressure into the skin. The success rate for pollen allergy sufferers is about 90 percent. The prerequisite is that the triggering allergens are known.
Hay fever should always be taken seriously, as the allergy may extend to the lower respiratory tract and cause asthma.
Allergic cold around the year
In addition to pollen, many other substances can trigger an allergic rhinitis. The most common triggers are:
- animal hair
- House dust (or the excretions of the house dust mite)
The symptoms caused by these substances are largely the same as those of pollen-induced hay fever. The allergy to animal hair is usually very violent. This allergy is most often triggered by cats, dogs, horses or rodents.
The house dust mite lives in every household - even with great hygiene and cleanliness. It is mainly found in beds, upholstered furniture or carpets. Typical of this allergy is the appearance after waking up or after nap. Molds are also found everywhere in our environment - not only in spoiled food, but also in potting soil or in damp walls or cellars.
Measures for allergies
The following measures should be taken by allergy sufferers to avoid contact with the respective allergens as far as possible:
- An animal allergy sufferer should not keep pets.
- Food allergic people have to do without the corresponding foods.
- In case of mold allergy, the apartment should be examined for possible sources and, if necessary, renovated.
- In house dust allergy also helps a renovation of the apartment. No carpets, little upholstery, special mattresses and covers.