The spring season is going to start soon and it will raise many questions about whether sneezing, and wheezing might be due to allergies or COVID19. However, a new study has found a surprising conclusion regarding it. The study has noted that allergy season might shoot up the risk of contracting the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Experts have looked at the data of airborne pollen concentrations, humidity, temperature, rate of COVID19 infection, and lockdown situations from 131 sites in 31 counties across five continents. After examining the data, experts have found that higher pollen levels have been linked to an extra 10 to 30 percent rise in the rate of the SARS-CoV-2 virus infection. The SARS-CoV-2 virus leads to COVID19 disease. The study has found that the rate of COVID19 infection has increased due to higher concentrations of pollen in the air. As per the experts, the rise in the cases of COVID19 normally occurs four days after the increase in pollen in the air. The co-author of the study and the chairperson of environmental medicine at the Technical University of Munich, Dr. Stefanie Gilles has said that the team has done the study after research has shown that pollen hinders the immune response of the body to other airway viruses such as rhinovirus and RSV. These two viruses lead to the common cold, said the experts. The findings of the new study have been released in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Experts have seen that the rate of virus infection has increased across the Northern hemisphere during a time in March 2020 due to warm and dry weather with an increase in the levels of pollen across Europe and Northern America. The co-author of the study, Dr. Lewis Ziska has said that considering the pollen interactions, the findings make sense, as COVID is a respiratory virus. Though experts have not been able to find the cause behind the link between pollen levels and the increased rate of COVID19 infection, they have drawn some theories. They have said that allergy season makes people sneeze and cough more naturally. Sneezing and coughing make people spread more bodily fluids around. The author has said that if a person has contracted the virus and sneezing and coughing more than usual, it may lead to the rapid spread of the virus that will result in more people being infected with the COVID19. Experts have said that pollen discharges certain materials that can reduce the ability of nasal cells to fend off viruses. Therefore, viruses can easily multiply in the nose, which can make people fall ill. The authors of the study have said that there are many environmental factors, which are responsible for increasing the rate of infection such as humidity that can act in sync with pollen and increase the risk of falling sick.
Health experts have said that pollen does not contain the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which infects people. The COVID19 infection is transmitted by proximity to the infected person. An allergist and immunologist from Allergy and Asthma Network, Purvi Parikh has said that inflammation might be playing a role as well. She has said that airways, which are already dealing with inflammation, find it difficult to clear and fight other infections. She has noted that people who are dealing with asthma go through a hard time while fighting off infections. Experts have said that people should wear masks outdoors during a period when pollen levels are high regardless of being around people or not. It will reduce the risk of catching the COVID19 infection and prevent the pollens from blocking the airways. However, experts have said that the findings of the new study are quite unusual and need further studies.