While people living with allergies are unlikely to need a reminder of this, allergy awareness week helps draw attention to a condition that a large part of our global population contends with daily. From the perspective of businesses and organizations, is there something we can all do to improve the lives of allergy sufferers in a way that benefits everyone? We explain why this allergy awareness week, it’s time to take action!
When Is Allergy Awareness Week this 2022?
There are actually two separate allergy awareness weeks this year, each focusing on a different type of allergy.
The first one, starting on April 20th, will this year concentrate primarily on different types of food allergies. The second one, World Allergy Week, starts on June 5th and highlights allergic diseases such as bronchial asthma, allergic rhinitis, and other respiratory conditions (many of which can be affected by our environmental conditions through pollen and poor air quality exposure).
What Is The Purpose Of Allergy Awareness Week?
The main objective of allergy awareness week is to bring public attention to allergies and the difficulties experienced by the people who suffer from them.
With pollen allergy in particular, people can experience a diverse range of reactions including sneezing, weezing, runny nose, and eye irritation. However, reactions also differ from person to person based on their individual sensitivities to different types of pollen. The highly individual nature of pollen allergy can make this condition a little more complex than some might assume.
What Other Common Types Of Allergies Are There In The World?
Let’s start by defining what ‘allergy’ by itself is: a reaction the body experiences to a specific type of substance upon inhalation, ingestion, or touch with the skin.
So what are the most common types of allergens that impact people?
Plant pollen – The tiny airborne grains released by certain types of grass, trees, and weed as part of their reproductive mechanism cause pollen allergy, also known as hay fever or allergic rhinitis. (Read more here).
Dust mites – These microscopic bugs live in house dust and exist by eating the dead skin cells we shed, typically residing in beddings, upholstery, and carpets.
Pet dander – These tiny flakes of skin or hair often come from domesticated cats and dogs that reside inside the home. The allergic reaction occurs due to certain proteins found in the shed cells.
Food – Certain food items like nuts, fruit, shellfish, eggs, and cow milk can trigger an immune system reaction not long after consumption, even in minuscule amounts. Symptoms include digestive problems, hives, and even life-threatening reactions like swollen airways.
Insect bites and stings – For some, an allergic reaction to insect-related pricks can be relatively mild, with a larger swollen skin area and more painful marks. While rarer, a severe allergic reaction can result in breathing difficulties, dizziness, and a swollen face or mouth.
Medicine – Certain drugs such as ibuprofen, antibiotics, and even over-the-counter medicine like aspirin can trigger an abnormal reaction in a patient’s immune system, commonly manifesting as hives, rash, or a fever.
Mold – Spores from these fungi can trigger coughing, itchy eyes, and other irritations. Inhaling mold spores can also cause an overreaction of the immune system, and in some people, mold allergy can trigger asthmatic reactions.
Household chemicals – Allergic reactions can trigger due to certain fragrances, preservatives, resins, and other chemical substances found in shampoos, soaps, laundry detergents, and even hair dyes.
Allergies + Asthma: Putting All The Eggs In One Basket
Those who don’t suffer from pollen allergy may wonder what the connection to asthma here is. People who suffer from both asthma and allergies can experience what’s known as allergic asthma, which means dust or pollen allergy can trigger asthmatic reactions for these individuals, causing breathing difficulties or other potentially dangerous respiratory issues.
Businesses: How To Stay Ahead Of The Game During Allergy Awareness Week
BreezoMeter’s innovative pollen monitoring technology combines traditional reporting methods with sophisticated AI-driven analysis and modeling that enable businesses to empower allergy sufferers with accurate 5-day forecasts, pollen heatmap visualizations, and location-based actionable insights.
With BreezoMeter’s universal pollen index, businesses can highlight health threats to different sensitivity groups based on 3 main pollen types (grass, tree, and weed), and 15 different plant species.
What Health Companies Can Do
Health companies can leverage pollen data to enhance their allergy management apps and other health platforms, educate patients on how to avoid pollen allergy triggers, deliver tailored alerts personalized to their individual sensitivities, and empower them to take medicine before experiencing strong reactions.
To give an example, after integrating pollen and air quality data with their connected inhaler app, digital therapeutics leader Propeller Health cut down hospitalization by 57%, reduced inhaler use by 84%, and increased the total of symptom-free days for asthma and COPD patients. (Read the full case study to learn more)
(Image originally featured on propellerhealth.com)
What Wellness Companies Can Do
Different lifestyle, travel, and fitness brands can integrate pollen data with smart wearable products and companion apps to help users learn how to prevent pollen allergy reactions by informing their daily travel and outdoor activity plans.
Personalized notifications can enable users to:
Avoid going outside when local pollen counts are high.
Close or open windows at the right times to minimize pollen presence indoors.
Enjoy outdoor activities when and where pollen risk is low.
Plan vacations and trips according to local pollen forecasts.
What Indoor Air Quality Companies Can Do
Pollen data enables air purifier and indoor environment monitoring companies to distinguish themselves from competitors by expanding their parameters and providing a bigger environmental picture. Pollen forecasts and insights can enhance digital offerings and add real value to allergic consumers looking for more optimal management of pollen indoors or even on the go with companion app integration.
What Automotive Companies Can Do
Experts estimate sneezing while driving causes many car accidents weekly, making pollen a potentially life-threatening hazard to all drivers and passengers on the road. Automotive companies can protect motorists by integrating pollen data to enhance smart car features:
Pollen forecasts and heatmaps help drivers avoid allergic reactions by choosing healthier routes.
Location-based pollen insights empower motorists to protect themselves when reaching higher pollen areas.
AC and window automation (based on live pollen data) make vehicles safer by keeping drivers focused on the road.
What Marketers and Demand Planners Can Do
By studying consumer trends based on local pollen conditions over time, market analysts can find new and more effective ways to reach pollen allergy sufferers at the most important times in the most impacted areas.
Leveraging historical pollen data can inform demand planning strategies and enables both buyers and sellers to enjoy the results of more effective marketing. Learn how Kleenex utilized historical pollen data to make their tissues visible when allergy sufferers needed them most – at the height of pollen seasons.
This Allergy Awareness Week, Take Allergies Into Your Own Hands
Understanding the difficulties experienced by allergy sufferers is the first step in optimizing daily allergy management and providing more effective solutions to your customers. With climate change increasing the severity and length of pollen allergy seasons, the second step becomes obvious – accurate pollen data can be used to empower individuals around the world impacted by allergies to lead healthier lives.
Companies now have the ability to reduce allergic asthma reactions by integrating pollen intelligence with different digital offerings to reach new business goals and make positive changes in the lives of allergy sufferers worldwide.