Chandigarh government introduced a new Pollen calendar, to protect people who suffer from pollen allergy by helping them to limit their exposure during the high pollen loads in the air. The calendar has the ability to identify potential allergy triggers and provide a clear understanding for clinicians as well as allergy sufferers.
About 20-30% of the population in India suffer from allergic rhinitis/hay fever and approximately 15% develop asthma, said the report released by the government. In humans, pollen is a major outdoor airborne allergen that causes allergic rhinitis, asthma, and atopic dermatitis.
Pollen calendars are graphical representations of the temporal dynamics of airborne pollen species in a certain geographic region. They provide easy-to-understand visual information on numerous airborne pollen species that are present throughout the year, as well as their seasonality, in a single image. Pollen calendars are location-specific, with concentrations strongly connected to the flora found in the area.
Department of Community Medicine and School of Public Health, PGIMER, Chandigarh, examined the seasonal pollen spectrum and brought out Chandigarh’s first Pollen Calendar. This would help in the preparation of early advisories which then could be disseminated through media channels, allowing citizens to take precautions when the concentration of airborne pollen is high.
This integration of science to protect the people of the city of Chandigarh was made possible with a team of high dignitaries in the field of medical science, environmental studies and other relevant fields. The team was lead by Dr Ravindra Khaiwal at the Department of Community Medicine and School of Public Health, PGIMER, Chandigarh and also included Dr Ashutosh Aggarwal, Professor, and Head, Department of Pulmonary Medicine from PGIMER, Chandigarh, India, and Dr Suman Mor, Chairperson and Associate Professor along with Ms Akshi Goyal and Mr Sahil Kumar, Research Scholar from Department of Environment Studies, Panjab University, Chandigarh, India.
The team investigated the main pollen seasons in Chandigarh, their intensities, fluctuations, and aero-biologically important pollen species. The study provided up-to-date information and highlighted the seasonal variations of important pollen species. Spring and fall were the most significant pollen-dominating seasons, with maximal species emerging when phenological and climatic conditions are favourable for pollen grain development, dispersion, and transmission.
The study supported by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) was recently published in Atmospheric Environment, a journal by Elsevier.
The Pollen calendar is made easily accessible for people of the city, through a website (https://www.care4cleanair.com/champ).
- Supratik Mitra (06/09/21)