Increasing pollen allergy makes life tough for residents of capital city

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Saddia Mazhar,
ISLAMABAD: With change in weather of the capital city, patients with pollen allergy are seeing sudden increase in their symptoms.
This was told to our correspondent by the sources of different hospitals here on Tuesday.
It was further told that number of patients with allergy symptoms is expected to increase in the coming days.
“It feels like someone is asphyxiating me. I have to sleep on a chair otherwise my breathing will stop,” said Rafat, a mother of two who has been suffering from pollen allergy.
She has no choice but to put up with the condition, like thousands of other victims. She wears a mask and tries to stay indoors. Those who have to venture out and this constitutes the majority can be found trying to catch their breath on the sidewalks, sneezing, pumping inhalers and wiping their eyes.
“Pollen are tiny powder-like biological particles released from trees, weeds and grasses for the purpose of fertilizing other plants,” says Dr Tariq Zahid Khan, an ear, nose and throat or ENT specialist.
Although there is no cure for pollen allergy, there are a number of ways to prevent them. “Vaccination at proper time before the commencement of spring season can help avoid adverse consequences of pollen allergy,” says Dr Syeda Maria Ali, an assistant professor at the International Islamic University, who wrote a paper on the health impact of allergenic pollen grains with three other experts. “Wearing masks during pollen season is recommended.”
It is for the information of our readers that pollen is a very fine powder produced by trees, flowers, grasses, and weeds to fertilize other plants of the same species. Many people have an adverse immune response when they breathe in pollen.
The immune system normally defends the body against harmful invaders — such as viruses and bacteria.
In people with pollen allergies, the immune system mistakenly identifies the harmless pollen as a dangerous intruder. It begins to produce chemicals to fight against the pollen.
In Islamabad, The Paper Mulberry tree has a bad rep for causing allergies in the Spring.which has some of the highest pollen counts in the world.
It was imported from the Far East when the capital was built in the early 1960s. Islamabad has a rough terrain dotted with dozens of torrential streams. It did not have much vegetation except for bushes and wild olives. City planners dropped thousands of seeds from helicopters and thus began the story of death and suffering. The non-native species destroyed the native vegetation. Islamabad is now a green city, as the city planners had envisioned, but most of the vegetation is paper mulberry.
People call it the stubbornness of trees. It does not require any external help to grow. You will find it growing in backyards, stream banks, sidewalks — practically any open space. There have been drives to cull the killer in the past, but they did not yield tangible results. It is a monster that is very hard to get rid of.
Allergy and asthma are interrelated while asthma is caused due to breathing system, coughing, suffocation, veezing in late night. As far as food intake during allergy is concerned, he recommended concentrating on balanced diet, seasonal vegetation, fruits, non-use of processed food, maximum exercise habits as these are general practical tips to avoid pollen disease.
Air-conditioning and keeping windows and doors closed help. Dry clothing and bedding in the dryer instead of hanging them outside. Pollen can stick to the fur of your pets so be careful when letting them in your bedroom or allowing them to play outside.

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