Hay fever: Birch pollen particularly heavy in 2016
Sneezing fits, watery eyes, itching: The mild winter means that allergy sufferers are exposed to allergic symptoms earlier than usual. This year could be particularly bad for those affected. According to experts, the complaints caused by birch pollen will be stronger in 2016 than in the previous year.
Mild winter leads to early pollen count
The trend has been going on for years: the pollen is flying earlier and earlier. In earlier years, it was the unpleasant side effects of spring, but the pollen is now often in the air in the winter months. Above all, hazel and alder pollen, which made some people complain of hay fever already at Christmas. Birch and grass will start soon. According to experts, allergy sufferers could experience more problems with birch pollen this year than in the past.
Symptoms will be more severe this year
According to the dpa news agency, the symptoms caused by birch pollen such as hay fever and asthma will be more severe in 2016 than in the previous year, according to estimates by the German Pollen Information Service Foundation (PID). The tree with the black and white bark is very common in this country. Thomas Stützel, professor of evolution and biodiversity of plants at the Ruhr University Bochum, said that an escape from birch pollen is hardly possible. "It is only better on the coast as long as the wind is coming from the sea." The silver birch (Betula pendula Roth), the most common type of tree, can be found practically everywhere. It is only to be found in some mountain regions. According to Stützel, the tree is very frugal and has very small seeds. Because there are enough nutrients in many areas due to the nitrogenous rain, the pioneer plant has good chances to germinate.
Regionally different increase
PID CEO Karl-Christian Bergmann also sees an increase in birch pollen, but this varies from region to region. For their pollen forecast, the researchers observe the weather development over several months as well as the seasonal development of the trees and compare everything with the pollen count of the past 15 years. Then, with a view to the foreseeable weather, an average value can be taken for the forecasts. The PID offers a pollen forecast on its website "www.pollenstiftung.de" in cooperation with the German Weather Service.
Birch pollen allergy sufferers still have a grace period
So far, birch pollen allergy sufferers have a grace period: "There are still no pollen in the air," says Bergmann. As confirmed by the German Weather Service in Freiburg according to the dpa, the overall air pollution caused by pollen is not very high because it is currently raining a lot. According to PID, the flight in southern Germany will begin in mid-March, and the birches in the north of the country will be in bloom until the end of the month. The foundation expects the birch pollen season to end in June. According to the information, the pollen of these trees is considered to be particularly aggressive. The plants release many of them within a short time.
Possibly psychological effect
"In surveys, allergy sufferers always state that they suffer badly from the birch," explained Bergmann. However, the severe symptoms at the beginning of the year might also have a psychological effect. According to PID information, the concentration of grass pollen has been increasing again since 2010. In the previous years, the burden had rather decreased. According to PID, the complaints for allergy sufferers from grass pollen that fly from April to September could also increase again. Regardless of which pollen you are allergic to, it is advisable to follow expert tips against hay fever, such as airing between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. when the pollen count is the lowest or not bringing pollen-laden clothing to the bedroom. It is also recommended to take a shower before going to bed, especially washing the hair. (Ad)