Doctor’s Profile

 Dr. Iffat Saeed (MBBS)


With the advent of spring in Islamabad people suffer from pollen allergy due to pollens shedding from paper mulberry trees. Unfortunately each year Islamabad sees the worst of pollen count ever been recorded in the world. The Allergy Centre of the National Institute of Health Islamabad is a well known and prestigious centre of its kind in the country and is playing a pivotal role in providing allergy services to the patients suffering from different allergic problems.

What is Thalassemia?

Q: What is Thalassemia?

Ans: Thalassemia is an inherited blood disorder. ( It means that parents pass the genes for the disorder onto their children.) Two genes one from each parent, are needed to make enough beta-globin protein chains if one or both genes are altered, It reduces the amount of hemoglobin in a human body, Leading to anemia.

What are allergies?

Q: What are allergies?

Ans: Allergies are an abnormal response of the immune system. People who have allergies have an immune system that reacts to a usually harmless substance in the environment. This substance (pollen, mold, and animal dander, for example) is called an allergen. Allergies are a very common problem, affecting at least two out of every 10 Pakistani. Spring is the time of year that we normally think of when it comes to seasonal allergies. As the trees start to bloom and pollen gets airborne. Allergy sufferers begin their annual ritual of sniffling and sneezing. Although there is no magical cure for spring allergies. There are a number of ways combat them. From medication to household habits.

Does everyone have allergies?

Q: Does everyone have allergies?

Ans: No, not everyone has allergies. People inherit a tendency to be allergic, although not to any specific allergen. When one parent is allergic, their child has a 50% chance of having allergies. That risk jumps to 75% if both parents have allergies. For many, allergies are seasonal and mild. Some have mild food allergies and as long as they avoid the food no problem. But for some adults it can be so severe that it interferes with their lifestyles.

What causes spring allergies?

Q: What causes spring allergies?

Ans: The biggest spring allergy trigger is pollen — tiny grains released into the air by trees, grasses, and weeds for the purpose of fertilizing other plants. When pollen grains get into the nose of someone who’s allergic, they send the immune system into overdrive. The immune system, mistakenly seeing the pollen as foreign invaders, releases antibodies — substances that normally identify and attack bacteria, viruses, and other illness-causing organisms. The antibodies attack the allergens, which leads to the release of chemicals called histamines into the blood. Histamines trigger the runny nose, itchy eyes, and other symptoms of allergies. Pollen can travel for miles, spreading a path of misery for allergy sufferers along the way. The higher the pollen count, the greater the misery. The pollen count measures the amount of allergens in the air in grains per cubic meter. You can find out the daily pollen count in your area by watching your local weather forecast.

Here are some of the biggest spring allergy offenders:

Allergy symptoms tend to be particularly high on breezy days when the wind picks up pollen and carries it through the air. Rainy days, on the other hand, cause a drop in the pollen counts because the rain washes away the allergens.

What are the symptoms of spring allergies?

Q: What are the symptoms of spring allergies?

Ans: The symptoms of spring allergies include:

  • Runny nose
  • Watery eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Itchy eyes and nose
  • Dark circles under the eyes

Airborne allergens also can trigger asthma, a condition in which the airways narrow, making breathing difficult and leading to coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. How are spring allergies diagnosed? If you’ve never been formally diagnosed with spring allergies but you notice that your eyes and nose are itchy and runny during the spring months, see your doctor. Your doctor may refer you to an allergist for tests. The allergy specialist may do a skin test, which involves injecting a tiny sample of a diluted allergen just under the skin of your arm or back. If you’re allergic to the substance, a small red bump will form. Another diagnostic option is the radioallergo sorbent test or RAST. RAST is a blood test that detects antibody levels to a particular allergen. Just because you are sensitive to a particular allergen on a test, though, doesn’t mean that you’ll necessarily start sneezing and coughing when you come into contact with it.

What precaution should one take for allergies?

Q: What precaution should one take for allergies?

Ans: The allergic conditions cannot be eliminated altogether: nevertheless, a few precautions can help lessen the severity of symptoms.

  • Wear a mask when you go out
  • Take the medicines prescribed by your allergy specialist.
  • Drink lots of water to prevent yourself from getting dehydrated.
  • While traveling keep your anti-allergy medicines and in halers with you.
  • Though there is no cure for pollen allergy, there are a number of ways to prevent them. Vaccination at proper time before the commencement of spring season can help avoid adverse consequences of pollen allergy.