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“If hay fever is not treated, there is a risk of developing asthma.”

“If hay fever is not treated, there is a risk of developing asthma.”

  1. Hersfeld newspaper
  2. magazine
  3. health

He presses

How pollen causes disease: Professor and Director of the Clinic at LMU, Jürgen Baer, ​​explains the danger of inflammation in the bronchi.

you have to Hay fever Get treatment or can you resign yourself to the urge to sneeze for a few weeks a year? Professor Jürgen Behr, Head of the Lung Clinic at Ludwig Maximilians University, explains the risks sensitive-Threatening patients.

Professor Jürgen Behr answers the pressing questions of allergy sufferers. © Andreas Steiger/LMU Clinic

To a person

Professor Jürgen Baer heads the Department of Pulmonary Medicine at the Ludwig Maximilian University Clinic (LMU) in Munich. He is 63 years old and specializes in internal medicine, pulmonology and bronchology, as well as cardiology and allergies

Is it true that hay fever can turn into serious asthma?

Yes, this is called the allergic process when symptoms start in the nose and eyes and then spread to the deep respiratory tract as life progresses. If you examine patients and deliberately provoke allergic reactions, you can see that half of them are susceptible to asthma; This is what we call an asthma reaction. Of these 50% of hay fever patients, half of them actually develop clinical asthma. This means that a quarter of hay fever patients will develop asthma symptoms over the course of their lives.

What is asthma?

Asthma is an inflammation of the mucous membrane in the bronchial tubes and the wall of the bronchial tubes. This causes the bronchial muscles to contract further and thus narrow the bronchi.

In asthma, the bronchi narrow, making breathing particularly difficult.
The drawing on the left shows normal bronchial tubes, while on the right they are narrow, making exhalation difficult. © Panthermedia/Roberto Biasini

How does asthma manifest itself?

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Patients often feel tightness or pressure in the chest, which can also occur intermittently. It is not uncommon for this to happen at night or during strong exposure. Breathing is difficult – especially exhalation, which can be easily explained by narrowing of the bronchi. You often listen asthma Wheezing Breathing sounds, also called wheezing. It is also common to notice a cough or often a cough with a little glassy phlegm.

What can hay fever sufferers do to avoid the risk of developing asthma?

Hay fever can also go away on its own. But the opposite can also happen, that is, it gets worse. Only so-called desensitization, also known as specific immunotherapy, helps fight the cause itself, which is the overreaction of the body's immune system causing the disease. However, this does not work for all patients. For it to be effective at all, you must do a careful allergy test beforehand so you can specifically desensitize yourself to your existing allergies – unfortunately, this is not always the case. In a Desensitization The patient is given targeted effects of the allergen via injection, to which their immune system reacts – for example hazelnut or birch pollen. Treatment should be carried out over three years. You need to make this clear to yourself before starting treatment, because if you don't stick to it, the treatment will be of no use.

A hay fever patient undergoes allergy testing.
Only allergy testing can provide clarity on the best strategy against hay fever. © Panthermedia/Alexraths

When should hay fever patients start considering treatment?

True hay fever occurs when patients suffer from it for a few weeks a year. Not only does it cause a runny nose and itchy eyes, but your ability to concentrate is often impaired and you feel weak and ill. If someone is clinically compromised, I would consider whether immunotherapy is required. Because eye drops and allergy symptom medications never eliminate the cause itself, only the symptoms it causes.

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Who deserves to be sensitive?

It works best when the allergy has not been present for a long time. Studies show that when hay fever is treated very early, at the latest after three years, with targeted immunotherapy, the effect is better. This does not work for all patients, and this should be made clear. The patients who react best to them are those who are not allergic to many substances, for example, to various pollens or even house dust or animal hair, but only to a few allergens. Immunotherapy can also have side effects.

What are the possible side effects?

At first, you get an injection every one to two weeks, as the doses increase. Once the maximum dose is reached, the intervals are extended to six to twelve weeks. After the injection is given, patients are monitored for an hour to see if they have any reactions, and in the worst cases, anaphylactic shock can occur.

This article only contains general information about the health topic in question and is therefore not intended for self-diagnosis, treatment or medication. It does not, in any way, replace a visit to a doctor. Our editorial team is not permitted to answer individual questions about medical conditions.