|▲ Pollen allergies. (source: pixa bay)|
Spring has arrived after a cold winter. Cherry blossoms are in bloom at the lake of Changwon National University, and spring seems to be here. The colorful flowers make student’s hearts flutter, but unfortunately some unwelcome guests have come. The unwelcome guests are, of course, pollen. Because of pollen, people who are allergic to pollen feel that spring comes with an itchy and runny nose. People with pollen allergies especially suffer a lot due to rising pollution levels caused by yellow dust, and fine dust. So, what does having a pollen allergy mean?
Pollen allergies are an allergic respiratory disease that is triggered each spring due to pollen which is produced by trees, flowers, and grasses. The major symptoms of pollen allergies are allergic conjunctivitis, allergic rhinitis, and allergic asthma.
Allergic conjunctivitis is eye inflammation caused by an allergic reaction to substances like pollen, external dust, and cosmetics. It can lead to numerous symptoms, such as intense itching of eyes, watery or stringy mucus discharge, red eyes, and swollen eyelids. Acute attacks of allergic conjunctivitis can cause chemosis of the conjunctiva. If the eyes are rubbed, the symptoms such as red eyes and swollen eyelids can become worse. In this case, using cold packs or eye drops helps reduce the symptoms. Most people with allergic conjunctivitis can have their symptoms alleviated with proper treatment. But people with allergic conjunctivitis should be careful because allergic conjunctivitis can happen frequently and cannot be permanently cured.
Allergic rhinitis is nose inflammation caused by an allergic reaction to substances like pollen. It leads to numerous symptoms, such as sneezing, itching, a runny nose, a stuffy nose, and itchy eyes. Sneezing and a runny nose are usually most severe in the morning, but a stuffy nose can continue all day. If allergic rhinitis continues for a long time, otitis media, chronic rhinitis, and a chronic cough could occur.
Allergic asthma is a disease in which inflammation occurs in the bronchial tubes, which are pathways to the lungs. When bronchial inflammation occurs, it is difficult to breathe due to the narrowing of the airway. Allergic asthma is caused by genetic and environmental factors such as pollen. It can lead to numerous symptoms, such as coughing, chest tightness, wheezing, and shortness of breath. Symptoms can repeat in a cycle of getting better and getting worse. However, if left untreated, lung function can decline. So, people with allergic asthma should seek treatment from a medical professional.
Pollen allergies and COVID-19 share a lot of the same symptoms such as headaches, coughing, and phlegm. So, people easily confuse pollen allergies with COVID-19. However, there are important differences between pollen allergies and COVID-19. First, itchiness is associated with pollen allergies, but not COVID-19. Second, COVID-19 can cause a temperature above 37.5℃ (99.5℉), but it is rare to have a high fever with a pollen allergy. Third, it is rare to have a runny or stuffy nose with COVID-19, unlike pollen allergies. Lastly, people with COVID-19 may lose their sense of taste or smell, but the loss of taste or smell caused by pollen allergies is likely to be a temporary symptom due to a runny nose or stuffy nose.
So far, this article has talked about the symptoms of pollen allergies. Like a positive feedback loop, the more people take care of their health, the healthier they become. Pollen allergies in particular is a disease in which tiny daily habits are generally more important than treatment. To reduce pollen allergy symptoms, stay indoors when the pollen count is high. If people with pollen allergies have to go out, wear glasses and a mask. Also, removing clothes they have worn is a good way to reduce pollen allergy symptoms. People who have severe pollen allergy symptoms should see a doctor.
By Park Yu-jeong, cub-reporter email@example.com
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