Dr Nishtha Singh I Executive Director and Chest Consultant
Asthma Bhawan, a leading hospital in Jaipur for respiratory diseases, appeals to the Government of Rajasthan to replace holoptelea integrifolia trees with other trees. These trees are highly allergic in nature and enhance the agony of the allergic and asthmatic patients. Holoptelea integrifolia tree or chilbil tree or bander ki roti is the most allergenic plant pollen of the city.
This pollen is present in higher concentration during morning and evening. The presence of this pollen in air forecasts difficult times for those patients who are susceptible for allergies from pollen. The patients who have allergies to this plant should avoid going outside their houses and should cover the nose and mouth properly with a triple layered mask during morning and evening. People are advised to limit their outdoor activities during this pollen season. It is the beginning of the allergic season as there is an upsurge in the number of asthma allergy patients visiting hospital OPD.
This peak pollen season of Holoptelia will remain until the end of April and the patients present to the hospital with various symptoms including nasal watery discharge, breathing problem, wheezing, burning eyes and rashes. In Jaipur, one can find Holoptelia trees easily on every other street in large numbers. Most people are not aware about the ill effects of the tree even the state government and civic bodies encourage its plantation. The trees are commonly found in government parks also and only Central park has around 400 trees of holoptelea. This tree has the characteristic of growing fast that is why its plantation is favoured by various sectors of the society. But, looking at its ill- effects, holoptelea trees should be cut and instead plantation of other trees should be encouraged.
This pollen remains in very high concentration in air for the duration of one to two months. This year this plant pollen was detected in the air of Jaipur city for the first time on 12th February 2021.
This pollen is detected in the air with the help of an instrument known as Burkard pollen counter which has been installed at the rooftop of Asthma Bhawan, a Respiratory center and hospital in Vidhyadhar Nagar Jaipur for the last 11 years. It is a pollen entrapment machine. Daily pollen counting with the help of Burkard pollen counter only at a few centres in the country and surprisingly in Rajasthan, Asthma Bhawan is the only Centre doing the daily pollen counting.
Asthma Bhawan also requests the Government to install the Burkard pollen counter at various other places in the city. It would aid to get area wise data and thus the government can act more precisely. This would generate good data and thus forecast the pollen as is done in most of the countries across the world. Looking at the increased morbidity associated with the pollens, it is high time that the government encourages uses of Burkard counters at other places in the State and daily pollen counting is being promoted. Pollen forecast which is similar to a weather forecast is done in various countries. India is still way behind in terms of pollen counting. A lot of Government resources are being used in the treatment of asthma and allergy patients. These resources can be better used in the prevention of other allergic rhinitis and asthma patients by reducing the asthma allergy causing trees and promotions of other trees. Daily pollen counting is being displayed at the website of Asthma Bhawan. This data can be viewed by everyone and is especially useful for asthma and allergy patients.