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Basic knowledge of hay fever (prevention and treatment)

Causes of hay fever

Hay fever is one of the allergic reactions caused by pollen in various plants. Why does pollen, which should be harmless in nature, cause abnormalities in the human body? The mechanism is that the immune function that protects the body adversely affects the body.



Image of a woman wearing a mask who can't stop sneezing due to hay fever

Mechanism of pollen allergy

Humans have an immune function that protects them from foreign substances that invade the body. In the case of hay fever, the body mistakenly recognizes the pollen of a plant that should be harmless as a foreign substance. At this time, the immune function works excessively and "antibodies" are produced in the body, causing defense reactions such as sneezing, stuffy nose, and itchy eyes. This is the so-called allergic reaction, and pollen is the causative allergen.


The onset of pollinosis is often compared to water overflowing from a glass.

Exactly perfect for this image. This is because when the antibody accumulated in the body exceeds the individual's tolerance, it becomes an allergic symptom and overflows.

In addition, pollinosis has a large genetic component, and it is said that people with allergies by nature are more likely to develop pollinosis. In addition, a combination of poor eating habits, lack of sleep, lack of exercise, and stress can upset the immune balance and make the body more prone to allergic reactions.

Things to keep in mind to prevent pollinosis in the future

Everyone has the potential to develop hay fever in the future, if not now. Daily eating habits and living environment are very important to reduce the risk of developing the disease. Learn about foods that make your body less prone to hay fever and how to clean and wash pollen away, and take all possible measures in your daily life.




Polyphenols and lactic acid bacteria

It is said that a diet that enhances immune function is good for preventing pollinosis and alleviating symptoms. If the immunity functions normally, pollen will not be regarded as a foreign substance and it will be less likely to cause hay fever.

The key to improving immune function is to prevent cell oxidation (aging). Vegetables that are mainly rich in vitamins and minerals, and fish that are rich in unsaturated fatty acids such as DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) have high antioxidant activity, so we recommend that you take them positively.


"Polyphenols" have recently attracted attention for their antioxidant properties. Typical examples are proanthocyanidins contained in red wine and catechins contained in green tea, but quercetin contained in onions is also a type of polyphenol.


In addition, foods that regulate the intestinal environment are also effective in preventing pollinosis. In addition to yogurt and cheese containing "lactic acid bacteria", fermented foods such as miso, natto, and pickles, foods rich in dietary fiber also increase the number of good bacteria in the intestine and maintain a good intestinal environment.

Living environment

Pollen is definitely getting into the house. Not only when you open the window or hang your laundry or futon outside, but you and your family bring it in from the outside.

Especially in the cold season, pollen tends to stick to long-haired coats such as wool, and if you enter the room while wearing it, pollen will be in the room. To prevent pollen from entering, first make a space where you can put a coat on the front door, wipe off the pollen from the coat before entering the front door, and leave it on the front door after taking it off. Ideally, you should shower or bathe as soon as possible after returning home to wash away pollen on your body and hair.


When you want to ventilate the room, do not open the windows fully, but open them slightly, and use screen doors and lace curtains to prevent pollen from entering. The recommended timing for ventilation is early morning when the amount of pollen scattered is relatively small, so be sure to finish cleaning in the morning.


Laundry is basically dried in the room. If you dry it outside, be sure to wipe off the pollen when you take it indoors. It's also a good idea to keep in mind that fabric softeners reduce the generation of static electricity and prevent pollen from sticking.




Treatment

Hay fever is a disease that is difficult to treat fundamentally. In the past, symptomatic treatment with drugs was the mainstream, but now new treatment methods that do not use drugs have appeared, and some of them can be expected to be completely cured. Introducing the latest treatments to watch, including the duration of the effect, whether or not insurance is applied, and the advantages and disadvantages of treatment.

1. Laser treatment

It is a surgical treatment that burns the surface of the nasal mucosa called the inferior turbinate with a laser beam and coagulates it. The burnt mucous membrane dries and is less prone to pollen and does not swell. Surgery can be performed outpatiently. There is not much bleeding or pain and health insurance is available. However, since the nasal mucosa is regenerated, the therapeutic effect is symptomatic treatment for only one season. Basically, anyone can take it, but it is recommended for pregnant women who cannot take medicine and for students who want to avoid drowsiness caused by medicine. Suitable for people with a strong stuffy nose.

2. Somnoplasty

While laser treatment burns the surface of the nasal mucosa, it is a treatment method in which high-frequency current is passed under the nasal mucosa to coagulate and necrotize cells. First, an extra-fine needle called a needle is inserted under the nasal mucosa, which acts as an electrode to generate high frequencies and coagulate the surrounding tissue. The coagulated tissue swells temporarily, but it pulls out in about 3 to 8 weeks, and by that time the stuffy nose disappears.

However, this method is also a symptomatic treatment and lasts for only one season.

3. Sublingual immunotherapy

It is a treatment method in which pollen extract is dropped into the mouth and absorbed into the body, gradually acclimatizing the body to pollen. The difference from allergen immunotherapy is that the allergen is not taken directly into the body, but from around the tongue, which is rich in immune function. It has very few side effects and can be done at home, so it is attracting attention as an easy way to cure hay fever from the ground up. The treatment period takes more than 2 years.

4. Allergen immunotherapy

The only radical remedy that eliminates the excessive immune response by gradually acclimatizing the body to pollen by adding pollen extract, which is the cause of allergies (allergen), into the body little by little. Also called desensitization therapy.


The treatment procedure is to first inject a low-concentration pollen extract subcutaneously, continue this once or twice a week for about 3 months, and then gradually increase the concentration once every one to one and a half months. I will treat you. At this time, side effects should be taken into consideration. After all, since the source of hay fever is directly put into the body, depending on the amount and concentration of pollen extract to be injected, it may cause a strong rejection reaction called anaphylactic shock. Therefore, allergen immunotherapy must be received by a doctor with specialized knowledge and experience.


It is said that if treated in the correct way, it will have a dramatic effect on about 80% of patients. The treatment period is as long as 2 to 3 years, but there is an increasing need to cure the painful pollinosis from the ground up.

Hay fever in children

Hay fever is a disease that affects not only adults but also children. Especially in recent years, the ratio has been increasing, and it seems that there are many families who are having trouble dealing with it. Painful nose and eye symptoms can hinder your child's growth, so know the right prevention and treatment to protect your child from hay fever.

Signs of a child having hay fever

It is said that it is difficult to identify pollinosis in children. This is because the cedar pollen season coincides with the time when colds and flu occur, and small children cannot communicate their symptoms well. Therefore, family members should be careful not to overlook the signs of hay fever and treat them at an early stage.

The most obvious are runny nose, stuffy nose, and itchy eyes. Gestures such as rubbing the nose, rubbing the eyes, or muffled the mouth can also be a sign of hay fever. By the way, children's nose holes are smaller than adults, so pollen does not easily get into the nose, but itching and sneezing are more severe than adults.

The painful symptoms of hay fever can lead to sleep deprivation and poor concentration, which can interfere with study and exercise. Accurate measures against pollinosis can be said to be an important role for parents for the healthy growth of their children.

Treatment of hay fever in children

Until now, symptomatic treatment with drugs has been the main treatment for pollinosis, but thanks to the introduction of radical treatments such as allergen immunotherapy, it has become possible to make fundamental improvements. However, immunotherapy is long-term, so it's a good idea to have an allergy test in your baby to understand your risk of developing hay fever. If you can control the onset based on that, you will not have the painful symptoms peculiar to pollinosis for the rest of your life, and it will not interfere with your future examination or career selection.


On the other hand, there is no guarantee that pollinosis will not occur no matter how much you try to prevent it, so if it does occur, it is necessary to watch the timing and suppress the symptoms with symptomatic treatment such as laser treatment. In other words, it is ideal to treat hay fever from among children by combining a long-term plan and a short-term plan.


However, only a limited number of medical institutions provide long-term planned treatment for hay fever. In general, the current situation is that the treatment is limited to short-term treatment that temporarily relieves the symptoms using drugs.





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