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Symptoms and Treatment of Pollen Allergies

Bidisha Mukherjee
Pollen allergy, also known as hay fever or rhinitis, is a common form of seasonal allergy. This story provides information regarding the same.
Pollens are fine spores that are produced by plants for their reproduction. The spores that are responsible for causing allergy are mostly produced by grasses, trees, and weeds. They are carried from one place to another by winds.


Externally, pollens are not harmful to our body. However, when they enter our body through the nose, the immune system treats it like a harmful germ. The body releases antibodies to counter these foreign substances. Due to the discharge of antibodies, some cells in our body tend to release a strong-chemical substance known as histamine. This is responsible for causing an allergic reaction within our body.


The symptoms of pollen allergy can be seen only during the pollination period of the plants. This allergy affects only those people who are pollen-sensitive. The symptoms vary in different individuals.
Due to secretion of histamine, the blood vessels of the nose expand and some fluids are released, which lead to swelling of the nasal passage and congestion in the nose. It also induces itching and swelling. It can cause choking of the voice or muscle spasm which leads to tightening of the throat and lungs, similar to asthma.
Therefore, the common symptoms that are most frequently observed are excessive sneezing, choked or runny nose, itching in the eyes, nose, and throat, tears in the eyes, etc. There are some other symptoms that are less common, like conjunctivitis or pink eye (a condition where the membranes of eyelids swell up reddening the eyes), allergic shiners (formation of dark circles under the eyes due to restriction of blood flow in the sinus area), headache, difficulty in concentration, sleeping problems, etc.


Any medicine administered for treatment needs some time before the signs of improvement can be seen. Many eye drops and nasal sprays are available that provide relief from the symptoms. The eye drops relieve the itchy eyes while the antihistamine nasal drops counter the effects of histamine, and reduce sneezing and itching.
Some tablets with antihistamine components are effective in reducing the frequency of sneezing, itching sensation of the mouth and throat, and may stop tears in the eyes. In case of severe allergy, the physician may prescribe strong medicines like steroids. The steroid-based sprays and drops may alleviate the inflammation and unblock the nose. This is the best option available to get some quick relief.
Immunotherapy is a unique treatment for this condition. In this therapy, the doses of allergic pollen are administered to the patient for a given period of time. The medicine comes in the form of a pill, and the patient needs to keep it under the tongue. It should be taken everyday for a prescribed period of time. Studies have shown that this treatment is highly effective if it is continued for a few years. It has very few or negligible side effects, and they can be overlooked.
Pollen of colorful flowers can also cause an allergy; however, this only happens to people who come in contact with these flowers very frequently, like gardeners and florists. This is because pollen of these flowers are heavy and are not blown by winds.
Disclaimer: This story is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.