April 30, 2022 08:34
There are many reasons for hay fever, but pollen is often the main culprit, and the number of sufferers increases every year.
According to a study by the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency, the proportion of allergic people rose from 15.8 percent in 2010 to 18.7 percent in 2020, and among women alone from 16.2 percent to 22.8 percent.
The figures were based on Immunoglobulin E antibody levels that rise when people are exposed to mites, pollen or other irritants and are used as a gauge of immune hypersensitivity reactions.
Many sufferers are therefore in their 20s and 30s -- particularly among women, with 31.6 percent in their 20s and 27.5 percent in their 30s. The symptoms tend to be worse at night or in the small hours, resulting in headaches in the morning.
Kwon Hyuk-soo at Asan Medical Center said, "Rhinitis caused by pollen can worsen conjunctivitis and asthma. If left untreated, the condition can have a huge impact on sleep."
The trouble is that there is no fail-safe treatment, though antihistamines and nasal decongestants can help alleviate the symptoms. To reduce the impact of the ubiquitous pollen, it is important to keep the windows closed if possible and limit exposure to outside air when pollen levels are especially high.
Pollen levels peak from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m., so hay fever sufferers should avoid exercising and opening the windows in the morning. Exposure to allergens can also be reduced considerably if people go for a breath of fresh air just after the rain has washed the air clean or when there is no wind. It also helps to wash your hands and face and change your clothes after going out.
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