The Truth About Hay Fever…The “3 Principles of Avoiding Pollen” to Survive the Deadliest Season. What You Can Do For Yourself” and “Next Steps.”
This year, the amount of airborne pollen is the highest in the past 10 years. Many people are suffering from the peak of their physical condition caused by hay fever.
This year, we have seen an especially large increase in the number of patients complaining of severe symptoms.
Dr. Asako Kanemaru, director of Nishiogi Otorhinolaryngology Clinic in Suginami Ward, Tokyo, says that the number of hay fever patients has increased dramatically since February.
She says that since February, the number of hay fever patients has been increasing dramatically. “Patients of all ages are increasing,” she says, “with those who had symptoms before reporting more severe symptoms, and those who had nothing to worry about until last year complaining of symptoms for the first time this year.
What we doctors can do to treat the symptoms of allergic rhinitis is mainly coping therapy and immunotherapy. The symptomatic therapy consists of medicines, mainly oral and nasal drops, to control runny nose and itchiness. A variety of medications have been developed, including over-the-counter medications. However, there are some cases of misuse, such as “using over-the-counter nasal sprays only when the symptoms are severe. I would like you to see a doctor and consult with him first.
Is there anything I can do to prevent hay fever by myself?
Yes, there is! Don’t breathe it in, don’t put it on, and don’t bring it in. In any case, you should stay away from pollen.
Measures you can take to prevent hay fever
(1) What you can do to avoid inhaling pollen
Wearing a mask is a matter of course, but choosing the right material and size can reduce the amount of pollen inhaled to 1/3 to 1/6 of the original amount. In addition, “stay outside” as much as possible. Unless you have no choice but to go outside for work or other reasons, try to avoid going out for walking, outdoor leisure activities, and other activities that can be avoided.
(2) Things to keep in mind in order not to put on
Wear eyeglasses when going out, as pollen adhesion can be reduced by 40% with ordinary eyeglasses and by 65% with eyeglasses with protective covers for pollen allergies. Also, wash your hands, gargle, and wash your face to wash away any pollen that may be on your face. When gargling, be sure to use a special liquid or saline solution, as gargling with tap water may irritate the mucous membranes and worsen rhinitis.
Even more effective is “moisturizing. Allergic antigens such as pollen can also enter the body through the skin. If the skin barrier is weakened by dry skin, pollen can easily enter the body, so moisturize thoroughly after bathing.
(3) Precautions to avoid bringing in pollen
Wear smooth clothes. Avoid knitwear and other materials that easily catch pollen, and especially on the outermost parts of the body, wear clothing made of smooth materials such as nylon or raincoats. When returning home, dust off pollen before entering the front door. Also, change clothes as soon as you get home and take a shower to remove pollen. And of course, dry your laundry indoors!
Innovative immunotherapy is also available.
There are things we can do for next season and beyond, though we can’t do them now in the middle of the season.
It is a sublingual immunotherapy that does not deal with symptoms, but rather creates a constitution that prevents symptoms from appearing. This is started around June to December, when pollen is not flying. Since this is done before symptoms appear, the medication is used at the end of the current pollen dispersal and when allergy symptoms have subsided. Once started, the medication is taken every day for a long period of time, so patience is required, but it is a fundamental treatment that “creates a constitution that is less likely to react to pollen,” and it is an epoch-making therapy that has shown results in about 70 to 80% of those who have undergone the treatment.
In fact, many patients who undergo this therapy find it “easier than in previous years.
There are some people who are not suitable for this treatment, such as those with pre-existing medical conditions or those who are considering pregnancy, so we consult with the doctor before starting the treatment. Since the treatment is covered by insurance, I think it is cost-effective.
This therapy, which requires daily medication and takes from one to three years to change one’s constitution, takes time, but it may be worth considering for those who work outdoors or play outdoor sports. In addition, since hay fever symptoms appear in February and March, which coincide with high school and university entrance examinations, many people start hay fever treatment while they are still children, with a view to taking the examinations in a few years’ time.
The first thing to do to prevent hay fever is to stay away from pollen. If you want to treat hay fever fundamentally, you should consider immunotherapy as the next step after the season has passed.
However, this sublingual immunotherapy is effective only for cedar pollen, and is not expected to be effective for other pollen allergies such as cypress pollen. In Tokyo, for example, cedar pollen is scattered until early April, and cypress pollen from March to early May. Therefore, even if sublingual immunotherapy for cedar pollen is administered, allergic reactions to cypress pollen may remain until around May, he said.
In many cases, the amount of pollen in the air is as high as it was this year, and for those who have strong symptoms, we have seen many cases where painful symptoms do not improve with only coping medications. I hope you will not only rely on medication, but also focus on preventative measures you can take yourself.”
Over-the-counter supplements and folk medicine (alternative medicine) such as “yogurt is good” or “this water works” are also widely heard, but “there is little scientific evaluation of folk medicine that has not been scientifically verified (omitted)” (Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare). However, with regard to Chinese herbal medicine.
I, too, prescribe them in my clinical practice.
Anyway, the first thing to do before taking these measures is to follow the “three principles of avoiding pollen. Just as the basic “washing hands and gargling” were important for “prevention” of the new corona, it seems that the right thing to do is to follow the basics. The main pollens that cause allergies usually remain in the air until mid-May. It is expected to continue for about two more months. We should check the weather information and follow the “three do-it-yourself principles” to get over the worst season.