It is established that patients do better if their interferon (part of the immune) response can increase sooner and faster than the growth of the virus that is attempting to effect the body. Factors that reduce interferon response should therefore be a focus in managing health.
What the research says…
A paper from Allergy describes pollen exposure as a factor that reduces the interferon lambda molecule. This down-regulation is associated with an increase in a virus illness of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in a large research group of 20,062 participants, of which 5,782 contracted RSV during the study period. According to the paper, “RSV cases correlated with airborne birch pollen concentrations.”
The authors suggest that there is also a risk of other viruses being able to infect more at the highest time of pollen outside.
These interferons, are anti-viral (kill viruses) and reduce their multiplication, and have their effect in the linings of our respiratory tract.
The authors describe pollen as affecting the innate immune response (front line attack of the immune to infection). Also, our linings (nose, lung, sinuses for example) are known to drive a part of the immune response called Th2, and pollens in particular will drive a Th2 response (even if we don’t have allergy to the pollen) in the sinuses, so that mucous production is created. When Th2 increase of the immune is present, the paper found there was a poorer capacity of the body to kill viruses.
Pollen exposure weakens innate defense against respiratory viruses
Allergy. 2020 Mar;75(3):576-587. Gilles S, Blume C, Wimmer M, et al.
Conclusion: The ability of pollen to suppress innate antiviral immunity, even if there is no allergy, suggests that high-risk population groups should avoid extensive outdoor activities when pollen and respiratory virus seasons coincide.”
Notes from Dr. Bastos ND:
It is amazing that pollen is found to weaken the immune even if you are not allergic to it. If allergies are present a similar situation this paper outlines would occur, namely a weakened immune ability to fight viruses. Allergy can be tricky to quiet down entirely so avoidance can be a key strategy especially if we are worried about acquiring more easily a virus infection when we flared up in allergy.
There are however, proven allergy / TH2 dominance supports shown in research that quite down the immune’s allergy response and therefore can preserve more so you body’s ability to fight infections.
Allergy testing and treatments are available at the Bastos Natural Family Center of Canada.
We care about your health,
Dr Elisabeth Bastos BSc, ND, RAcu
Naturopathic Doctor (2005), Acupuncturist, Nutritional Therapist Certified
Call at 519.767.9224
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