Risks and Severity

The severity of the allergic reaction to pollen varies from person to person according to:

  • the immune system of the sensitized person which reacts in different degrees to the allergen
  • the type of pollen to which the person is allergic
  • the intensity of the pollen season.

What are the complications of the pollen allergy?

The pollen allergy is a benign illness.

However, in very allergic persons, certain complications can occur and can constitute a daily handicap:

  • apnoea and sleeping disorders
  • rhinitis and sinusitis
  • asthma
  • bronchial spasm and tightness of the chest
  • problems of concentration in children
  • problem of productivity at work.

DID YOU KNOW? Allergic rhinitis and asthma are closely linked: 10% to 30% of people who suffer from allergic rhinitis also get asthma and 80% of asthmatics suffer from allergic rhinitis.

Aggravating factors

Environmental factors related to our times and way of life may increase the risk of pollen allergies:

  • global warming may change the geographical distribution of plants and may favour the appearance in the air of new allergising pollens
  • pollution may weaken the walls of the pollen grains which facilitates the release of their allergising content
  • exposure to passive smoking and pollution weakens the nasal mucosa and increases the sensitivity of the respiratory tract to allergens
  • imported exotic plants bring new allergens to our temperate regions and these can increase the risk of allergy and trigger an allergic reaction.


The Belgian aerobiological surveillance network “Airallergy” quickly informs general practitioners, specialists, pharmaceutical firms and the general population of the presence of allergens in the air.

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