Dozens of people in Zagreb were tested for the ragweed allergen and learned how to recognise this plant that affects an increasing number of people. For the fourth year in a row, the Croatian Society for Allergology and Clinical Immunology and JGL have organised the “Allergic to Allergies” public health initiative aimed at raising awareness of the harmful effects of ragweed.
Citizens also had the opportunity to explore the Alergični (“Allergic”) app that can be used on any smartphone for taking pictures of ragweed in a particular area and reporting it to competent local and regional government bodies. The app adds the photo to a map together with an exact geolocation and reports it to competent authorities.
“Ragweed season is approaching, and ragweed pollen is extremely allergenic, causing a range of problems involving the nose, eye, lung and skin mucosa in an increasing number of people. This is why removing the weed is a legal obligation. With this initiative, our goal is to raise awareness of the need to eradicate the plant entirely, to familiarise the public with the problems it causes, remind allergic people to monitor the pollen count – i.e. the pollen forecast provided by the Croatian National Institute of Public Health, which is available for around twenty cities and towns in Croatia – and enable easy and quick testing for the allergen for those who need it,” says Prof. Asja Stipić Marković, PhD, member of the Management Board of the Croatian Society for Allergology and Clinical Immunology.
Doctors Ana Hađak and Iva Topalušić educated the people of Zagreb on the fact that nearly a third of the population experienced allergy-related difficulties, with ragweed being one of the most widespread allergenic plant species, which is why its systemic removal from public spaces is so important. A special website, alergicni.hr, has been created to educate the public on the causes and methods of relieving allergy symptoms.