- September 8, 2021
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN Topics
Subject – Science and Tech
Context – Tracking airborne pollen to prevent allergy
- By studying airborne pollen and its seasonal variations for about two years, researchers from the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) and Panjab University have created a pollen calendar for Chandigarh, arguably the first for any city in India.
- Pollen calendars represent the time dynamics of airborne pollen present in a particular geographical area. They yield readily accessible visual details about various airborne pollen present throughout the year in a single picture.
- Though the concept is not essentially new, this is one of the major environmental concerns that had not been addressed for the Indian cities.
- Such calendars are location-specific, as pollen concentrations are closely related to locally distributed flora. Europe, UK and the US are using regional pollen calendars in a big way to prevent and diagnose allergic rhinitis/hay fever and predict the timing and severity of the pollen season.
- Pollen grains are male biological structures with the primary role of fertilisation, but when inhaled by humans, they may strain the respiratory system and cause allergies. Pollen found suspended in air can cause widespread upper respiratory tract and nasobronchial allergy with manifestations like asthma, seasonal rhinitis, and bronchial irritation.
- About 20-30 per cent of the population suffers from allergic rhinitis/hay fever in India, and approximately 15 per cent develop asthma. Pollen is considered a major outdoor airborne allergen responsible for allergic rhinitis, asthma, and atopic dermatitis in humans.
- The study highlights the variability of crucial pollen types in different seasons. Spring and autumn are two seasons when airborne pollen dominate.
- A pollen calendar provides a clear understanding for clinicians, as well as people with allergies to identify the potential allergy triggers and help to limit their exposure during high pollen load season.
- The early advisories can be prepared and disseminated through media channels to the citizens so that they can use protective gear during the period when the concentration of allergic pollen will be high. People can access the Pollen Calendar through the Care 4 Clean Air website.
- Non-allergic or entomophilous plant species should be chosen to provide an allergen-free atmosphere. Examples of such plants include rose, jasmine, salvia, Bougainvillea, Raatki rani and sunflower.