Spring has arrived and allergies too!
Spring is a painful time for those who suffer from allergic rhinitis. Beatriz Tavares, an allergy doctor, explained to The Portugal News what this disease entails.
According to the doctor, allergic rhinitis “is an inflammation of the nasal mucosa”, which can sometimes extend to the sinuses. The inflammation results from an allergic reaction to pollens, for example. In the first phase, the person comes into contact with the pollen and develops sensitization. By contacting it a second time, the body is already sensitized to a particular pollen and produces a large scale antibody called EGE which is responsible for the allergic reaction.
When the antibody encounters the allergen, it triggers a “release of mediators that cause inflammation of the nasal mucosa.” Inflammation causes swelling of the nasal mucosa, runny nose, which can cause nasal obstruction in the patient. In addition to nasal obstruction, the most common symptoms are nasal itching and sneezing.
According to Beatriz Tavares, “about 85% of asthma patients also suffer from allergic rhinitis and about 20-30% of patients with rhinitis also suffer from asthma”.
Allergies by region
Portugal is rich in ecosystem, with a diverse flora, which is not always positive, especially for those who suffer from allergic rhinitis.
In the interior of the country there is a greater production of olive cultivation, which is the main allergen in this region. However, it is the grasses that cause the most problems for those who suffer from allergic rhinitis. Between May and June, occurs the peak of release of pollens which cause allergies.
Beatriz Tavares told The news from Portugal that depending on the geographical area in which the patients live, there may be a higher or lower incidence of allergies to certain pollens.
Diagnosis to assess what type of pollen a person is allergic to is relatively simple.
The test consists of placing allergens in a purified state on the forearm, by a small superficial puncture. After 15 to 20 minutes, the body is supposed to react to certain allergens and then it is shown whether “the EGE has recognized the allergen”, creating inflammation.
Beatriz Tavares reveals that the most effective treatment is with nasal corticosteroids, as it treats all symptoms. Antihistamines are most commonly used when chosen by the patient. Since the pills are taken orally, patients find it more comfortable.
There is also the possibility of being inoculated with vaccines against allergic rhinitis. The vaccine can be used in patients with “persistent attacks”. According to the doctor, it is a very effective treatment when given to patients allergic to pollinosis.
Anyone with allergies and wanting to learn more about the situation in Portugal can visit the Portuguese Aerobiology Network website for more information https://www.rpaerobiologia.com/