`High Olive Pollen Hits Allergy Sufferers in Jaén - Olive Oil Times

High Olive Pollen Hits Allergy Sufferers in Jaén

Jun. 10, 2012
Naomi Tupper

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The major region of olive oil pro­duc­tion region in the world, Jaén is home to over 65 mil­lion olive trees which are cur­rently flow­er­ing, result­ing in seri­ous con­se­quences for those with aller­gies in the province.

Extreme pollen counts have been recorded of more than 2,000 grains per cubic metre. Aggravation for allergy suf­fer­ers usu­ally begins at about 50 grains, so this abnor­mally high level is caus­ing extreme reac­tions in sen­si­tized peo­ple liv­ing in the area.

The high lev­els are expected to con­tinue into the next week, with high tem­per­a­tures and low rain­fall con­tribut­ing to the increase in pollen in the air.

An increase in the num­ber of chil­dren suf­fer­ing from olive and other pollen and grass aller­gies in the past years has led to the orga­ni­za­tion of the Coastal Classrooms Program in the Jaén area.

Due to the large amount of olive trees and there­fore olive pollen in the months of April, May and early June, increas­ing num­bers of chil­dren in Jaén were miss­ing large amounts of school due to aller­gies. A con­cern about the amount of edu­ca­tion some chil­dren were miss­ing out on and the increas­ing num­ber suf­fer­ing from aller­gies led to the devel­op­ment of the free pro­gram which sees chil­dren from the area attend­ing classes in res­i­dences sit­u­ated on the Andalusian coast.

When first approved by the gov­ern­ment in 2003, ten chil­dren attended the classes in the coastal town of Motril. However, this has increased steadily, with up to eighty stu­dents attend­ing in years with par­tic­u­larly high pollen counts.

According to the hos­pi­tal com­plex in Jaén, hay fever affects around fif­teen per­cent of the pop­u­la­tion in the area, with a rise to about thirty per­cent in young peo­ple. It is the most com­mon cause of rhino-con­junc­tivi­tis and bronchial asthma.

Olive pollen is one of the most preva­lent causes of res­pi­ra­tory allergy in Mediterranean coun­tries with twelve dif­fer­ent aller­gens hav­ing been iden­ti­fied in olive pollen, in addi­tion to one aller­gen found in the olive fruit itself.

Although olive trees are pri­mar­ily pol­li­nated by insects, there is still a large amount of air­borne pollen in regions with a high con­cen­tra­tion of trees, such as Jaén and many other areas of south­ern Spain, Greece, Italy and parts of the Middle East and the USA.



Sources:

Andalucia Information
Todo Alergias
Hypersensitivity to the aller­gens of the pollen from the olive tree (Olea europaea) A. Wheeler

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