HYDERABAD: One in three Indians living in urban areas suffer from allergy. More often than not, they just brush it off as common cold or cough, believes Professor Ignacio J. Ansotegui, chairman and president, World Allergy Organisation (WAO).
Speaking to Deccan Chronicle at length on Tuesday, he observed, “Hyderabad’s air pollution might not be as high as that in New Delhi. But seeing things as they are, there are chances that pollution could increase. This pollution would increase pollen count in the air, which results in birth of an allergy,” the WAO chief pointed out
He said the Indian sub-continent has different climate zones, meaning they have different allergens. “Humidity plays a major role in instigating allergens. As humidity goes up, molds and dust mites become more potent. Though Hyderabad is considerably hot during this time of the year, it has humidity, which enhances the pollens’ ability to release allergens,” Ansotegui remarked. For example, if someone is allergic to grass pollen, they exhibit allergy symptoms only when pollen is released.
“Usually people consider this to be common cold and ignore it. But this could be the first symptom of rhinitis or allergy. It is important to pay attention to all such symptoms,” he underlined.
Speaking about climatic action of allergens, the WAO chief said humidity, primarily indoor humidity, is ideal for molds and mites to aggravate and infest as allergens.
“Another thing that people don’t pay much attention to is indiscriminate use of cleaners, sprays and mosquito coils, which are harmful. These do no more than exacerbate the dormant allergens. Even ground-level ozone reacts in a similar way,” he stated. While pollution-monitoring agencies are tapping particulate matter, they are not checking for particles finer than 2.5 microns, which could worsen the allergy, Ansotegui added.