In news– Recently, Chandigarh got its first Pollen calendar, arguably the first for any city in India.
What is a Pollen Calendar?
- 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.
- Pollen calendars are location-specific, with concentrations 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.
Benefits of a pollen calendar-
- 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.
About Chandigarh’s Pollen calendar-
- The researchers from the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) and Panjab University have created a pollen calendar for Chandigarh, by studying airborne pollen and its seasonal variations for about two years.
- The study titled as ‘Pollen calendar to depict seasonal periodicities of airborne pollen species in a city situated in Indo-Gangetic plain, India’ was recently published in the journal Atmospheric Environment.
- The study highlights the variability of crucial pollen types in different seasons. Spring and autumn are two seasons when airborne pollen dominate.
- The findings will enhance the understanding of pollen seasons, which will in turn help minimise pollen allergies.
Pollen & its impact on Human health-
- 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 percent develop asthma.
- Pollen is considered a major outdoor airborne allergen responsible for allergic rhinitis, asthma, and atopic dermatitis in humans.
- Trees such as palms, nettle, safeda, white mulberry (shahtoot), congress grass, pine, have a high incidence of pollen.
Non-allergic or entomophilous plants include rose, jasmine, salvia, Bougainvillea, Raat ki rani and sunflower.