Athanasios Damialis, professor at the Munich University of Technology, spoke to OPEN about the role of pollen in increasing coronavirus cases.
Mr. Damialis explained that “since the pollen that causes seasonal allergic rhinoconjunctivitis (hay fever) weakens our immune system, we are much more likely to contract the virus.”
The professor continued that “since we are constantly exposed to factors such as environmental pollution that negatively affect our immune system, things get complicated in the spring, when allergies are added to everything else.”
The “weapon” against pollen is “masks”, which are a fairly reliable means of protection against both allergies and coronavirus.
As the plants begin to bloom, pollen allergy sufferers will start to have problems. Some trees, like olive trees, have already started to bloom. This means that we avoid walking on streets planted with olives for several hours, and if we cannot avoid this, then we must wear a mask that fits tightly to our face. “
As for the cases when there is the most pollen in the atmosphere during the day, the expert could not give an exact answer, noting that “most of us think it will be morning or noon. However, there are some plant species that bloom at midnight. We cannot be sure that at any particular time of the day we can consider walks to be 100% safe, at a time when everything is blooming and fragrant. The advice is this: find out what exactly you are allergic to (perhaps not to the pollen of all plants, but to some specific ones), and look at the detailed information, that is, when it blooms and so on.
Finally, Mr. Damalis said that Greece does not have a system for measuring the presence of pollen in the air, especially in Athens. “This service exists in Thessaloniki and it is provided by scientists privately,” he stressed.