Chandigarh now has its own pollen calendar

Department of Community Medicine and School of Public Health, PGIMER, Chandigarh, has examined the seasonal periodicities of airborne pollen spectrum and developed the first Pollen Calendar for Chandigarh city.

This calendar will help identify potential allergy triggers and provide a clear understanding for clinicians as well as allergy sufferers about the causes to help limit their exposure during high pollen loads.

This will help prepare early advisories and disseminate them through media channels to the citizens so that they can use protective gear during the period when the concentration of allergic pollen will be high. A pollen calendar is also a preventive tool for sensitive people to diminish exposure when the levels of aero-pollen are high during specific periods.

About 20-30 percent of the population suffers from allergic rhinitis or hay fever in India. Moreover, approximately 15 percent develop asthma. Pollen is considered a major outdoor airborne allergen responsible for allergic rhinitis, asthma, and atopic dermatitis in humans. 

Pollen calendars represent the time dynamics of airborne pollen taxa in graphical form in a particular geographical area. Pollen calendars yield readily accessible visual details about various airborne pollen taxa present throughout the year, with their seasonality in a single picture. These calendars are location-specific, with concentrations closely related to locally distributed flora.

Chandigarh’s first Pollen calendar was made possible by a team led by Dr Ravindra Khaiwal at the Department of Community Medicine and School of Public Health, PGIMER, Chandigarh. It included Dr Ashutosh Aggarwal, Professor, and Head, Department of Pulmonary Medicine from PGIMER, Chandigarh, India, and Dr Suman Mor, Chairperson and Associate Professor along with Akshi Goyal and Sahil Kumar, Research Scholar from Department of Environment Studies, Panjab University, Chandigarh, India.

The group explored the main pollen seasons, their intensities, variations, and aero-biologically significant pollen types in Chandigarh. The study provided up-to-date information and highlighted the variability of crucial pollen types in different seasons. The study supported by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) was recently published in Atmospheric Environment, a journal by Elsevier.

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