In a first for India, scientists develop pollen calendar for Chandigarh

Financial Times

People with seasonal allergies tend to suffer from pollinosis, hay fever, and allergic rhinitis during spring, caused by pollen released from plants

A team from Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education & Research in Chandigarh joined hands with Panjab University have developed a pollen calendar for Chandigarh following a study on the seasonal periodicities of airborne pollen spectrum, The Indian Express reported. This is the first such calendar for an Indian city.

People with seasonal allergies tend to suffer from pollinosis, hay fever, and allergic rhinitis during spring, caused by pollen released from plants. The team undertook the study to address these concerns, and explored the pollen seasons, the respective intensities, variations, as well as aero-biologically significant pollen types in the city.

The prominent airborne pollen dominating seasons studied were autumn and spring. The team’s research was published recently in Atmospheric Environment, a reputable peer-reviewed international journal.

Lead investigator Dr. Ravindra Khaiwal, an Additional Professor of Environmental Health at the Department of Community Medicine and School of Public Health, said the forest cover in Chandigarh had witnessed a remarkable increase in recent years. He mentioned that a rise in green spaces leads to the increase of airborne pollen, thus increasing pollen-related allergic ailments.

Chairperson Dr. Suman Mor said the aim of the study was to bring seasonal information about airborne pollen to the population most susceptible to allergic reactions, healthcare professionals, scientists, and policymakers to familiarise them with the changes in environment so that further mitigation strategies can be developed.

Dr Ashutosh Aggarwal, Professor and Head of the Department of Pulmonary Medicine at PGI, said that study’s findings would enhance understanding of airborne pollen seasons and may help further minimise pollen allergies.

The calendar provides understanding to healthcare professionals and people who suffer from allergic reactions to identify likely allergy triggers. This would help them limit exposure during times of high-pollen loads, Dr. Khaiwal said.

He added that most pollen species the study discovered had high allergy-causing potential.