Summer is coming and most people are looking forward to higher temperatures and sunny days. But for pollen allergy sufferers, this is the time for complaints - and these could be even worse this year.
For some pollen allergy sufferers in Germany, spring this year could bring more symptoms than usual. Due to the drought in many regions, pollen would not be washed out of the air, said landscape ecologist Matthias Werchan from the German Pollen Information Service Foundation in Berlin. "If there is no rain, the air is very rich in pollen. Even pollen that has fallen on the ground can be blown up again when it is dry. For allergy sufferers, this means that there are no relief days with a lower pollen concentration."
When it rains in spring, this usually first clears the air of pollen, so allergy sufferers, for example, can then ventilate without hesitation. Rainy or rather mixed weather in spring can alleviate symptoms.
According to Werchan, the problem this spring is not just the drought: Some tree species have a mast year in which they bear a particularly large number of fruits. Before that, there is an above-average pollen count. "Oak and beech have a strong season in many regions," said Werchan. Many people who are allergic to birch pollen also reacted to it as part of a cross-allergy.
According to the expert, the ash also had a strong season, while birch and alder less so. The flight of grass pollen is currently starting in this country: "The values are now locally in a moderate, sometimes high load." Among other things, the foundation publishes weekly pollen forecasts.
However, allergy sufferers do not have to worry about the yellow haze, which can hardly be overlooked on cars or garden furniture at the moment, as Werchan describes: "The visible yellow pollen usually comes from spruce and pine. Due to their size, they can sometimes blind the eyes or irritate the respiratory tract. But that is more of a foreign body sensation and not an allergy. A strong birch year, from which many people suffer, would not be visible to the naked eye - their pollen is simply too small."
In people suffering from hay fever, the body releases the messenger substance histamine as a defense reaction to pollen. Those affected can relieve acute symptoms with nasal spray, eye drops and tablets. Sometimes they are also advised to travel when allergies are at their peak. Immunotherapy, for example with injections or tablets (hyposensitization), starts at the cause - but patients should usually start with this a few months before the pollen season.