People with allergies to grass and olive pollens suffer at this time of year. / sur

Allergic to grass and olive pollen? This is what to expect in the south of Spain

What is this spring-summer going to be like in Andalucía for people who have these allergies? The Spanish Allergology and Clinical Immunology Society has the answers

RAQUEL MERINO Malaga

People who are allergic to grasses and olive trees are facing a difficult time, because the pollination period for these is normally from April to June but in the Mediterranean area it may even stretch until August. In fact, spring allergies began earlier than usual this year because the winter was so dry and temperatures have been higher than normal.

What is this spring-summer going to be like for people who have these allergies? The Spanish Allergology and Clinical Immunology Society says that in general, the spring allergies will be slight over most of Spain with the exception of the south, where the intensity is expected to be variable. Specifically, it says the allergies are likely be very slight in Almeria, slight in Malaga, Cadiz, Granada and Huelva and moderate in Cordoba, Jaén and Seville.

The president of the SEAIC’s Aerobiology Committee, Dr Ángel Moral, says that the pollen level will range from 1,000 grains of grass pollen/m3 in Almeria to 6,000 in Cáceres and Badajoz.

Symptoms and advice

The symptoms of this type of allergy can be itchy nose, eyes, palate and even ears, often accompanied by sneezing, runny nose or congestion. Red eyes, watery eyes and even the formation of blisters or bags under the eyes can be other signs of an allergy, along with difficulty in breathing, cough or a wheezy chest in people with allergic asthma.

Specialists advise that anyone with such symptoms should consult an allergy expert to see whether any treatment is needed. Many people with allergic rhinitis confuse it with a long-lasting cold and don’t see a specialist in time, which delays diagnosis and treatment and increases the chance of developing asthma.

They also recommend avoiding the countryside or places with a lot of vegetation during these months, especially on windy days; sleeping with the windows closed; keeping the car windows closed and using anti-pollen filters in the car; wearing sunglasses and avoiding exposure to unspecific irritants such as smoke, dust or strong smells, in order to cope better with the allergies.