Thomas Krüger, specialist in otolaryngology at Bönen

Bönen – The nose runs, the eyes burn: The typical symptoms of a cold do not necessarily indicate a cold or a summer flu, says the doctor of the ears, nose and throat of Bönen, Thomas Krüger . During a conversation with Sabine Pinger, WA's editor-in-chief, he talks about hay fever.

How do people recognize that they do not have colds but hay fever?

This is actually difficult and difficult to discover for patients. The symptoms can be very similar, with runny nose, burning eyes and even cough when it is allergic asthma. We, the doctors, can know it by the mucous membranes. And in case of doubt, a test must be performed.

How does such a test work?

There are several tests to detect allergies, such as the bite test. In which different allergens are applied to the skin. It only gives information about hay fever quickly. In addition, or in the case of uncertain test results, a blood test is performed, that is, the blood is taken and examined in the laboratory. In very difficult cases, extracts are sprayed on the mucous membrane. This is called Provoaktionstest.

Thomas Krüger, doctor of the ears, nose and throat at Bönener.

© Presc h

What do people do in case of hay fever?

We are not talking about a hay fever, but a nasal allergy or sore throat or allergic asthma. Hay fever is no longer a general term. Affected individuals generally respond to grass pollen. But there are many other allergens, for example house dust, mold or animal hair.

At what time does the allergy appear particularly strong?

It varies and depends on what people are responding to. There are seasonal allergies that start very early. The hazelnut can provoke reactions from the end of December. Then come the first blooms, alder and birch until April at the latest. From May to August, it is grass pollen. Rye is very closely related to herbs and is a problem for many allergic people in the summer. Mugwort can also cause severe reactions. It flowers from May to October. In case of house dust allergy, it can be particularly violent at the beginning of the heating season, because when heated, the dust is agitated. Of course, there are many allergies throughout the year, such as animal hair or house dust. Some hay fever patients also develop pollen-related cross-reactions to food, particularly pome fruits. It also helps what our grandparents have already done: the apples are lightly steamed. Allergy sufferers can tolerate it. In the plate of raw food, they should go through it.

And what helps against allergy?

This too is very individual and depends on the discomfort felt by the patient. There are drugs that suppress the symptoms. When you sneeze, have runny nose, watery eyes and cough, you can help some sprays, drops or tablets containing different active ingredients. There is now a lot of appropriate funds in the pharmacy. And if patients hear well, that's good too. Otherwise, it is worth going to the doctor who prescribes the drug individually appropriate. To contain allergy, it is also possible to try hyposensitization.

Read also: People with allergies to pollen swear by these home remedies

Can affected people do anything other than take medication?

Yes, people with allergies to pollen should especially ventilate the apartment early in the morning and keep the windows closed during the day. If you like to sleep at night at the open window, it is recommended to the pollen keepers to prevent most pollen from entering. And whoever was outside should wash his hair at night.

Can we generally protect against an allergy?

This is discussed again and again. Nothing is proven but right. The only thing that can be statistically proven is that people who grow up in rural areas or on a farm, less prone to allergies. This also applies to dog owners. This also seems to be a good thing for mothers to breastfeed their babies.

Read also: The 2019 pollen season will be so intense

When do allergies occur? Do you always start in your childhood?

No, an allergy can develop at any time and at any age. Sometimes they disappear, for example during pregnancy. Hormones play an important role.

Do you feel that allergies are increasing and that more and more people are suffering?

Feels yes. There are already many who come to me in practice. And in the case of food intolerances, that is the case. They increase regularly. What it is, is controversial. For example, it was assumed that air pollution was a reason for this. However, it was later found that the inhabitants of the GDR had fewer allergies than after reunification. And the air was much dirtier there at the time of the GDR.

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