Pollen allergy

The human immune system is in principle there to combat pathogens. In the case of allergies the immune system reacts incorrectly in that it reacts strongly to harmless substances. In the case of pollen allergy, the trigger is the pollen of various plants. These are plants that multiply via wind pollination and therefore release large amounts of pollen. Accordingly, pollen allergies have a strictly seasonal course, meaning that the pollen allergy sufferer only has symptoms during the flowering period of the plants to which they respond.

The pollen makes contact with the mucous membranes of the respiratory system and the eyes via the airway and can cause the following symptoms: runny nose (hay fever), conjunctivitis, cough, bronchitis, shortness of breath (asthma), and skin rashes.

In Austria there are 3 important flowering periods: Flowering period 1: Spring (February – April)

Flowering period 1: Spring (February – April)

Flowering period of trees

The flowering period is heavily dependent on the weather conditions. The pollen count is more pronounced in warm, fair weather. Hazel and alder bloom sooner – the first concentrations can already be seen in January; however, the strongest ones are caused by birch pollen from mid-March to late April. Tree pollen allergy sufferers often additionally suffer from food allergies to botanically related plant foods, e.g. hazelnuts, apples (see category food allergy).

Flowering period 2: Early summer (May – July

Flowering period of grasses

The most common pollen allergy. Since grasses are botanically related to the cereals, allergy sufferers also respond to various grain pollens (such as rye pollen). This does not mean, however, that a food allergy exists against grain products (bread, etc.).

Flowering period 3: (August – September)

Flowering period of weeds

In Austria, the allergy to mugwort and ragweed, two species-related herbaceous plants, dominates. The allergy to mugwort pollen is sometimes linked to food allergies, namely to celery and spices (especially herbs, see section “food allergy”). In eastern Austria the influence of ragweed pollen is increasing.

A pollen allergy should be treated, as the allergy may otherwise increase from year to year. Slight pollen allergies can be influenced by the use of eye drops and nasal sprays, even allergy tablets (antihistamines) eliminate the symptoms quickly. With stronger pollen allergies and increasing complaints, a vaccination treatment is advisable.

The allergy situation should be checked by means of allergy tests every 1-2 years.