Pollen allergy hits Pakistan capital in big way
hussain | March 14, 2010 at 04:28 amby
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The life of pollen allergy patients in Pakistan capital has become difficult with the advent of spring season and the number of patients visiting hospitals is growing with the passage of every day.
ISLAMABAD: With the advent of spring season in federal capital Islamabad, the number of pollen allergy patients has witnessed a significant increase at the city hospitals and clinics. The Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims) in the city, one of teh biggest in the country, has expedited its efforts against the disease by setting up nebulizers to treat the patients.
According to a Pims official here Sunday, the current pollen patterns indicated that paper mulberry was likely to start shedding pollens around mid of this month. He said the rainy spell delayed the paper mulberry pollen.
The official said the pollen allergy patients who suffer from this affliction in March, may face a shorter, but slightly intense pollen season this year. He said it now required two to five days of sunshine for the mulberries to start flowering.
Pims sources said between 90 and 110 pollen allergy patients are visiting the hospital for nebulization and oxygen. “Taking special steps, the Pims administration has deputed 10 extra staff members in Emergency Department and has installed over 25 nebulizers at different places of the hospital so that as soon as a patient enters the hospital premises, he/she could be treated immediately,” the official said.
Spokesman for Pims Dr Waseem Khwaja said the pollen allergy symptoms included sneezing and runny nose, itching and watering of eyes, coughing, difficulty in breathing, wheezing and eventually attacks of asthma. In addition, there may be itching on the skin and sometimes gastro-intestinal symptoms, he added.
Khwaja said during periods of high pollen concentration in the air, people with pollen allergy should try to avoid unnecessary exposure to irritants such as dust, insect sprays, tobacco smoke, air pollution and fresh tar or paint. He added any of these could aggravate the pollen allergy. He said complications might occur if pollen allergy was not treated timely.
The Pims spokesman said people with seasonal allergies who could not avoid pollen, the disease can be controlled through medication on advise of physician.
Talking about precautionary measures, Khwaja said pollen allergy patients must avoid eating spicy food. “No use of perfumes, avoid walking in garden, wear face mask, use wet cloth for dusting, avoid using carpets on the floor, do not open the window of car, use vacuum cleaner instead of broom, use sunglasses outdoors, and apply fresh water in eyes and nose and avoid using hot water,” he said.
According to Pakistan Meteorological Department, the atmospheric concentration of pollens of pines, grasses and cannabis is in high category in Islamabad. The PMD advised the individuals sensitive to pollens to take precautionary measures.
“The trend in allergic pollen will change and the concentration of paper mulberry pollen will also increase and dominate the other allergic pollen after mid of March,” Abdul Sattar, the Meteorological official said. He said as soon as the pollen count increased 15,000 cubic meters in the air, patients started suffering severely.
According to an estimate of Health Ministry, about 120,000 residents of Islamabad are the victims of this disease, which in some cases has become fatal.
Since early 1990s, pollen allergy has become one of the gravest health problems of the city as every year hundreds of people visit hospitals or clinics for treatment against the disease.
Some experts hold paper mulberry tree as solely responsible for the disease, while others associate multiple environmental pollutants such as dust and smoke emissions.
According to a study conducted by National Institute of Health, during 1983-1993 as much as 15 per cent of the population in the industrialised countries suffered from allergies.