The pollen season has begun - air pollutants exacerbate the situation!

Dyson, sponsor of the Austrian Pollen Information Service, supports us in our work!

While the first rays of spring sunshine herald the time of outdoor swimming pools and barbecues for most people, for others they are a regular stress test: for them, the peak phase of the hay fever season begins. And that means watery eyes, blocked noses and sneezing attacks. In recent decades, pollen allergies have increased in both frequency and severity. The World Allergy Organization (WAO) estimates that the prevalence of allergies of all kinds is between 10% and 40% worldwide. Allergies in everyday life are common and by no means only affect sensitive people, because in addition to pollen, many people are also allergic to house dust mites, mold or animal dander.

According to a Statista survey in 2023, 16% of the population in Austria stated that they were affected by allergies; among the over-60s, the figure was as high as 18%. At just under 43%, pollen allergies are the most common form of allergy in Austria. "It is a common misconception that the pollen season only affects spring. Pollen can also be found in the air from December to September. This means that pollen allergy will soon become a year-round problem. Apart from the seasons, temperature, time of day, humidity and even rain affect the pollen count. Climate change and the associated changes in the plant world pose particular challenges for allergy sufferers in Austria," explains Dr. Markus Berger, Head of the Austrian Pollen Information Service.

Global warming therefore poses a problem that should not be underestimated. The informative pollen warning app Pollen+ from Polleininformation.at is available to all allergy sufferers so that they are always informed about the pollen count and can take appropriate preventative measures. It shows the current pollen count of the respective plants as well as a four-day forecast of pollen intensity including air quality.

Pollen or pollen is a flour-like mass (microspores) that male plants and trees usually release as a fine powder during their reproductive cycle, not only in the first spring and summer months, but in some regions of Austria on up to 300 days a year. Different types of plant pollen are released during the allergy season:

  • Spring - tree pollen
  • Summer - grass pollen
  • Autumn - weed pollen, for example ragweed

Children suffer particularly badly

According to the European Centre for Allergy Research Foundation (ECARF), children and young people with untreated hay fever have a 40 percent chance of failing a whole grade at school during the pollen season. The risk of allergic diseases is particularly high in children whose parents are also allergy sufferers. If one parent has an allergy, the child's adequate risk is 20 to 40%. If both parents are affected by the same allergy, the child's risk even rises to 60 to 80%! A recent ECARF publication points out that city dwellers are particularly affected. According to the publication, the air pollutants that are increasingly present in cities - and in particular particulate matter and nitrogen oxides - chemically alter the allergens in birch pollen.

Pollen allergies can start at almost any age, but affected children suffer particularly badly. Many parents of pollen allergy sufferers notice that their child is moodier and more irritable during allergy season. Visible signs of a pollen allergy that parents should look out for include sneezing and a runny nose, itchy or watery eyes, coughing and throat irritation, tiredness and irritability, skin reactions and pressure or pain in the ear.

Contact with pollen is unavoidable

Even within your own four walls, you are not safe from allergy triggers, as indoor air pollution can be up to five times higher than outside. In addition to pollen, house dust mites, mold spores, cleaning agents and cooking fumes also contribute to indoor air pollution. This results in allergic reactions of varying severity, which significantly impair quality of life. In the worst case, the body's own immune response can develop into a chronic illness such as asthma. It is virtually impossible to avoid contact with pollen completely, but a few simple steps can provide relief.

Wash away allergens

Pollen can settle on the skin, hair, clothing, shoes and pets. Allergy sufferers who have been outdoors should put their clothes in the washing machine and be sure to shower in the evening to wash off pollen particles. This prevents pollen from sticking to the pillow, which can exacerbate symptoms long after exposure.

Keep pollen outside

Keeping the windows closed as often as possible or alternatively installing pollen screens reduces the amount of pollen in the house. It also helps to dry laundry indoors rather than in the garden. Taking your shoes off at the door prevents allergens from spreading in the home. Allergy sufferers are best active outdoors when the pollen count is at its lowest. Hourly forecasts can be found at polleninformation.at, and it is advisable to plan your time outdoors, if possible, in such a way as to avoid peaks in outdoor exposure.

Vacuum a lot and clean the air

The rule is: vacuum at least once a week. You should make sure that the vacuum cleaner has a HEPA filter, as some allergens are so small that they can pass through a normal vacuum cleaner filter. Without a HEPA filter, these tiny particles can get back into the air. Especially with seasonal allergies, it is essential that the appliance traps microscopic particles and fine dust.

"Air purifiers that not only filter pollen but also fine dust are a helpful aid for sufferers," says expert Dr. Markus Berger, Head of the Austrian Pollen Information Service. So instead of opening the windows on warm days, an air purifier such as the Dyson Pure Cool Formaldehyde helps to improve and cool the indoor air and capture ultra-fine dust and allergens. Dyson air purifiers are fully sealed to HEPA H13 standard, meaning that airborne contaminants such as ultra-fine dust and allergens stay inside the filter and can't get back outside.

Dyson air purifiers filter microscopically small pollutant particles down to a size of 0.1 microns from the air. The high-tech filter technology ensures a healthy indoor climate and removes up to 99.95 percent of ultra-fine particles from the air, including allergens. Dyson has integrated the powerful Air MultiplierTM technology into all air purifiers, which draws pollutants into the device even from several meters away, so that the entire room air is purified and a cooling air flow is created at the same time.

Dyson products for optimal cleaning and removal of allergens

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polleninformation.at in Kooperation mit den regionalen Pollenwarndiensten der Bundesländer Auszugsweiser oder vollständiger Nachdruck und Veröffentlichung nur unter Angabe der Quelle gestattet.

Für den Inhalt verantwortlich: Österreichischer Polleninformationsdienst
Tuchlauben 7a 1010 Wien

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