Mulberry pollen behind allergies

Shimona Kanwar

First pollen calendar study for Chandigarh

CHANDIGARH: In a first pollen calendar study for Chandigarh published in an international journal, it has been inferred that the pollens were mostly produced from trees in and around the green belts in the city which caused severe allergies like Rhinitis, nausea, wheezing, itchy nose, and whooping. Also, the two main pollen peak seasons were February to April and August to October. Pollen from mulberry tree was behind most severe allergies.
During February, March and April, the highest pollen concentrations sometimes exceeded 800 pollen/m3. However, from May onwards, daily pollen counts began to decrease, with no new peaks appearing until August–October. The study was recently published in 'Atmospheric Environment', which is a reputed peer-reviewed international journal by Elsevier.
The main team of the researchers from PGI and Panjab university consisted of Dr. Ravindra Khaiwal, department of Community Medicine and School of Public Health and Dr. Ashutosh Aggarwal, Professor and Head, department of Pulmonary Medicine and Dr. Suman Mor, chairperson Department of Environment Studies, Panjab University. The most significant annual average pollen percentage for 2018–2020 was attributed to Morus alba (66.74%), followed by Poaceae --is a grass family (6.55%), Cannabis sativa (6.74%), Celtis occidentalis (2.25%), Parthenium hysterophorus (1.51%), Eucalyptus sp. (1.37%).
Morus species are mulberry trees which have the ability to disperse pollen at very high velocity elucidate the reason for a higher concentration of this pollen. “When these allergens/pollens can induce symptoms like runny nose, itching and redness of the skin, nasal irritation, bronchial asthma, sneezing, conjunctivitis, dermatitis, etc. and can exacerbate the condition in COPD and asthma patients,” said Dr Khaiwal. The total annual pollen concentration in the ambient air of Chandigarh was high compared to other different areas.