Downplaying the impact of hay fever: ‘It’s not seen as a disease’

According to Oude Elberink, more and more people are suffering from their nose and lungs. He added: “They often suffer from fatigue and shortness of breath, which gets worse as the season goes on.”

So the hay fever season is getting longer. “This is due to climate change,” the allergist explains. I’ve been in this business for thirty years now. Thirty years ago, the season started in March when the weather was nice. “Now it started years before that, but today the season starts in mid-December.”


Oude Elberink stresses that hay fever should not be underestimated. “People barely stay at work. And even if they are actually at work, they are often not fully present. When your head is full of snot and your eyes are watery, you simply can’t concentrate anymore. And then we’re not even talking about fatigue.” Hay Fever It has a huge impact on your business.

This applies equally to pupils and students. “Especially at this time of year, when they have to come in because of exams. Sometimes that has a definite negative impact on that.”

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This can be really annoying, confirms Oude Elberink. “People underestimate it because it’s so common. It’s not seen as a disease, but as part of everyday life. That doesn’t change the fact that someone can become very ill as a result of it, and that recognition is often missing. Then they say: “Well, it’s that time of year, it will pass, but if you have hay fever for eight to nine months of the year, there’s only a fairly short period of time where you’re not bothered.”

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To fight

According to the allergist, it is important to take preventive medications. “Start on time and continue using it daily during the season, even when it is raining outside, and even if you have few complaints,” emphasizes Oude Elberink. “That means you shouldn’t just stop, and you shouldn’t just start when the complaints are already in full force. Then it works less well. You’re selling yourself short by doing that.”

According to Oude Elberink, it is important not to limit yourself to hypoallergenic tablets that you can buy at the pharmacy. “It’s great for acute complaints like tears and sneezing, but it’s also used as an anti-inflammatory. It helps combat fatigue and shortness of breath.

to treat

In addition, there is a causal treatment you can do. “We expose the person to what they are allergic to, for example through injections or dissolved tablets. By taking a slightly larger amount of it, the body produces antibodies. But this is not suitable for everyone.”

Healthy eating is also important. Ude Elberink: “This strengthens your immune system. So eat as little processed foods as possible and eat lots of vegetables. Hay fever can cause an allergic reaction to fruits or nuts.” Then don’t try to avoid it right away. Smaller amounts can actually help ensure that you react less quickly and with less intensity. Continue eating nuts and seeds until you continue to develop at least a certain amount of tolerance.

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Fewer complaints

Can you get rid of hay fever permanently? “Yes, it’s possible,” says the allergist. “But this does not always happen. What we see is that people suffer much less from treatment. This certainly makes life more enjoyable. Because people often suffer from these complaints when the weather is nice and they want to spend a lot of time outside. As a result, they “They close themselves off and avoid all kinds of outside activities, which is unfortunate.”

Commercial benefit

Ude Elberink believes that companies benefit commercially from the increase in the number of hay fever patients. “Companies try to sell all kinds of things, like an electrical outlet that keeps pollen from getting in, or… Tape stripping To prevent hay fever. There are those who say that you should eat honey because it contains pollen and thus relieves the symptoms. There is a small grain of truth in everything, but honey, for example, contains too little pollen to be effective. And about Tape stripping I haven’t found a single article yet that says it works and I have no idea how it works. “It may have an effect, but it has not been scientifically proven.”


All kinds of research is being conducted into potential new treatments. “A lot of things are being worked on, with great new developments, but a lot is not yet available for practice,” the allergist explains.

She continues: “In addition, a number of certainly effective treatments for hay fever are still considered expensive. This is the big problem. Hopefully they will become cheaper soon, so we can also use them for people with hay fever.

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There are also developments in which hospitals are trying to get more pollen counters in the Netherlands. “This way people can better adapt to the amount of pollen and use their medication accordingly. But the best thing you can do now is take the medication daily.”

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Disclaimer: Don’t just experiment, do so in consultation with a qualified physician.

Megan Vasquez

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