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Spring in Kashmir: Doctors caution people against worsening Covid conditions due to pollen exposure

Srinagar: Health experts have cautioned people prone to various allergies to take extra precautions as coronavirus can worsen in spring.

Hundreds of plant species release their pollen into the air every year during early spring. During that period, pollen allergic as well as non‐allergic patients frequently present to doctors with allergies like rhinitis, sinusitis, and also prone to developing exasperations of asthma.

However, coronavirus is likely to cause “worsening of the symptoms” in these patients.

“What is being observed in such patients is that apart from allergens and irritants, certain viruses can cause worsening. Out of those viruses, three are mostly involved–Rhinovirus, Respiratory syncytial virus, and third is Coronavirus,” Dr Khawar Khan Achakzai, Registrar at SMHS Hospital, Srinagar said.

Increased number of patients with symptoms of allergies can also “increase the burden” on the hospitals. “The ability of pollen to suppress innate antiviral immunity, independent of allergy, suggests that high‐risk population groups should avoid extensive outdoor activities when pollen and respiratory virus seasons coincide,” Dr Khawar said.

A research study titled, “Hypersensitive allergic reactions are caused by Pollen abundantly found in air during the spring and autumn seasons” shows that in Kashmir, the pollen concentration remains highest “from March to September” because during this season all the flowing plants of valley are in full bloom due to which the high concentration of pollen is in the air.

“Out of 32 pollen types surveyed in the study, 23 types are already known to be allergic and cause various allergic disorders among people. The main allergic disorders caused by these allergic pollen types are allergic rhinitis allergic dermatitis, bronchial asthma, conjunctivitis,” it says.

Dr Shahnawaz B Kaloo, a Kashmiri doctor based in Delhi maintained that spring season is a difficult time for patients suffering from respiratory diseases, especially those suffering from Asthama.

“Given the current pandemic situation, these patients need added precautions. On days with high pollen counts, try to stay indoors to limit your exposure as much as possible. Also, N95 mask is very helpful for such patients against the allergens in the air,” he said.