Pollen Library: Plants That Cause Allergies

Pollen Library: Plants That Cause Allergies

What are Pollen?

The word “pollen” comes from the Latin words psilon (which means “cloud”) and florex (meaning flower). These two words mean cloud or misty vapor, which contains tiny seeds of various kinds of flowers. Some types of pollen contain proteins that trigger allergic reactions. For example, one type of pollen may cause asthma attacks in some people. Other types of pollen do not have any harmful effects.

How Pollen Affects People with Asthma?

Asthmatics are sensitive to many different substances found in the air. Many of these substances include pollen, dust mites, mold spores, animal dander and other airborne allergens. A person’s sensitivity level depends on several factors such as age, genetics and environmental exposure. Pollen may affect the way people react to certain foods.

Pollen can cause allergic reactions when inhaled into the lungs. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath and chest tightness.

Asthmatics often experience difficulty breathing even if they don’t feel sick. If someone experiences these symptoms after coming in contact with pollen, it could indicate that they have been exposed to pollen. If you suffer from asthma, it is important to maintain your regular preventative treatment schedule to prevent an attack.

How Can Pollen Affect People Who Don’t Have Asthma?

Some people are acutely allergic to particular types of pollen. These people may suffer from runny noses, itchy eyes or even asthma attacks, but these symptoms are generally mild. These types of symptoms can usually be treated with over-the-counter medication. People who are not typically sensitive to pollen may experience a wide range of symptoms when their immune systems react strongly to a particular type of pollen. In some cases, someone may suffer from an allergic reaction but not display any symptoms at all.

How Can You Protect Yourself From Pollen?

There are several ways to prevent your body from absorbing pollen and other airborne allergens. The following are some tips that can help you avoid problems with airborne allergens:

Stay Indoors During Peak Pollinization Hours: Avoid going outside when pollen counts are at their highest. This is generally between dawn and dusk.

Wear Long Sleeves and Pants: Another way to avoid the effects of pollen is to wear clothing that covers as much of your skin as possible. Wearing long sleeves and pants can help prevent your skin from absorbing airborne allergens.

Use Pollen Filters: Some people opt for using high-quality air filters in their homes. These air filters can drastically reduce the amount of airborne allergens that get through the filter.

Stay Inside: If pollen counts are high, it may be best to stay indoors until the pollen counts drop. If you do go outside, make sure to wash your clothing immediately when you return inside.

Try Antihistamines: Over-the-counter antihistamines can help relieve minor allergy symptoms such as runny noses and itchy eyes.

Take Precautions if You Suffer From Asthma: People who suffer from asthma should always have an inhaler with them at all times. If you have severe reactions to pollen, ask your doctor about obtaining a prescription for pills or liquids that can be taken before coming into contact with allergens.

Sources & references used in this article:

Biology of weed pollen allergens by G Gadermaier, A Dedic, G Obermeyer, S Frank… – Current allergy and …, 2004 – Springer

Use of Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy as a tool for pollen identification by E Gottardini, S Rossi, F Cristofolini, L Benedetti – Aerobiologia, 2007 – Springer

Allergenic pollen and pollen allergy in Europe by G D’Amato, L Cecchi, S Bonini, C Nunes… – Allergy, 2007 – Wiley Online Library

Plant non‐specific lipid transfer proteins as food and pollen allergens by G Salcedo, R Sanchez‐Monge… – … Experimental Allergy, 2004 – Wiley Online Library

The spectrum of allergens in ragweed and mugwort pollen by N Wopfner, G Gadermaier, M Egger, R Asero… – … archives of allergy and …, 2005 – karger.com

Allergy to plant‐derived fresh foods in a birch‐and ragweed‐free area by J Cuesta‐Herranz, M Lazaro… – … Experimental Allergy, 2000 – Wiley Online Library