Frequently Asked Questions
Each day, our unit reports the airborne pollen and fungal spore densities in order to inform medical doctors and the public about the growing and flowering periods of the main allergenic taxa. Each week, the daily counts from five sampling stations (Brussels, Marche-enFamenne, Tournai, De Haan and Genk) are provided.
Weekly results of the pollen concentrations, information by graph, and comments on the allergenic pollen grain and fungal spore variations are published in this newsletter.
These months do not actually correspond to the flowering season of allergenic plants, and consequently allergy to house dust mites or allergy to spores from wild and field mushrooms (basidiospores) should be considered. Large quantities of spores are released into the air in September and October, and some of them could provoke respiratory allergies.
1) Allergen eviction
One of the safest ways to avoid pollen contact is to keep windows and doors closed. Indeed, pollen grains are quite easily deposited in still air. If you must absolutely go outside, wear sunglasses to protect your eyes.
2) Medical treatment
Drugs such as antihistamines and corticoids do reduce hayfever symptoms. These are prescription medications which, with the practitioner’s consent, may also be taken as preventive measures.
3) Immunotherapy injections
This treatment is rather long. It consists of a series of injections with increasing doses of allergen. Allergy shots should always be given by a medical doctor.
However, the combination of these various measures seems to be the best solutions.
You may also read the outlooks for airborne pollen concentrations on the homepage of our website. You will be informed of the peak periods, and with your practitioner’s recommendations, you will be able to set up your allergy treatment scheme.
Indeed, pollen concentrations are often lower in coastal areas. This is indeed the case for tree pollen. A stay at the seaside when birch trees are flowering (April-May) is recommended to individuals sensitised to birch pollen.
However the rule does not apply to grass pollen. The influence of wind directions plays a role on pollen concentrations in the atmosphere. Densities are low in case of sea winds whereas with inland winds, pollen densities may be as high as inside the country. This is why hayfever sufferers (sensitised to grass pollen) do not necessarily feel relieved at the seaside.