Tips for Spring Allergies
With the advent of Spring and the arrival of blossoms, children and adults start to suffer from allergies due to dust pollens with red, teary and itchy eyes, prickly and runny nose, and sometimes also have difficulty breathing and wheezing. These symptoms are an expression of seasonal allergy called hayfever and also seasonal asthma.
Dust pollens from different plants (mainly those without colorful flowers pollinated by insects) are air borne by wind in the warmer and drier weather. As a result of the contact between pollen in the air and the nasal mucosa, certain cells in the airway mucosa release a substance called histamine which causes the various allergies. Plant allergens prevalent in Israel mainly in the Spring emanate from cedars (which begin to blossom in February), olive, pecan and date palms, plants from the grain family and various shrubs.
Dr. Nofar Marcus, Director of the Clinical Pediatric Immunology Service within the Institute of Immunology and Allergy at Schneider Children's, notes that those with allergies to dust pollens during Spring should refrain from nature hikes and remain indoors as far as possible. They should undergo regular treatment during this period against allergies that include second-generation antihistamine medications which do not cause drowsiness, and steroidal sprays according to the doctor's recommendations. There are anti-allergy vaccines administered by injection; they are very effective against seasonal allergies and can be given in the clinic at Schneider Children's. Similarly, those who live in such areas are recommended to keep the windows closed at home and not to hang washing outside to dry.
The Allergy Clinic at Schneider Children’s conducts various tests on the skin of the hands. Treatment includes medications such as oral antihistamines, nasal sprays and eye drops, with lung inhalations where needed. Longer-term care is through desensitization (decreasing the child's sensitivity to a known allergen) where weekly treatment is by injection of the allergen in concentrated and low dosage. This causes the Immune System to produce a wanted immune response against the allergen and reduce the production of other anti-bodies against allergic reactions in the body.