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Hay fever: determining the trigger and allergy

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Hay fever: determining the trigger and allergy

There are many different types and manifestations of allergies. While allergies to dust mites or pet hair occur all year round, pollen poses major challenges to the immune system during the allergy season.

When everything is in blossom: pollen the trigger of allergies

Grasses, wild herbs, trees and shrubs blossom at different times during the year. As their individual blossoming time depends on geographical location and weather, the time from the beginning of March to the end of September is generally described as the “allergy season”. The pollen emitted to pollinate the plants is usually only a few micrometres in size, but can penetrate deep into the respiratory tract. It is spread via insects or the wind. Your dispersal area therefore depends on the wind and weather conditions: it can travel from one garden to regions hundreds of kilometres away.

Currently, 16% of the female and 13% of the male German population suffer from hay fever related allergies to weed, grass or tree pollen.(1) Hay fever is therefore the most prolific allergic disorder in this country. As a rule the allergy symptoms occur straightaway, once the allergen comes into contact with the immune system ("immediate").

Allergy tests: Am I allergic?

An allergy against grass, weed or tree pollen can be diagnosed by your doctor with the aid of various tests. During the skin prick test, allergy inducing substances are trickled onto the patient’s lightly scratched skin to see if there is a reaction. A blood analysis is performed to measure the level of immunoglobulin E, an antibody formed during an allergic reaction.

The individual allergy type is classified on a four-tier scale of severity. Most patients are affected by Type 1 allergies, which are also known as immediate type, as the symptoms occur within a few minutes.

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