As usual for this season Kyiv is covered with poplar wools. For weeks citizens have been trying to escape the white trouble, wearing sunglasses, putting anti-mosquito nets on windows or simply staying home.

For many people the blooming period of these trees is not just a disturbing inconvenience, but a reason to visit an allergist. Thus, it is hard to find lovers of the summer  snow. However, the majority of experts, both ecologists and doctors, agree that poplars play a very important role for the environment. Thus, we should arm ourselves with patience and wait out this period.


According to ecologists, not planting out or even cutting down these trees is out of the question. "Poplars clean the air and keep down dust. People take various medicines, both sweet and bitter, hence poplars can be considered a medicine to clean the air," ecologist Volodymyr Bareiko says.
His colleague, head of the All-Ukrainian ecological league Tetyana Tymochko, agrees. She adds that apart from cleaning air poplars create antinoise screen, which absorbs sounds of transport, for example.

"Developing landscaping of a settlement, scientists proceed from the level of human-induced impact on this or that region and define adequate species of trees to minimize pollution, clean air and decrease noise load," she says.

Ecologists say there are different species of poplars and some of them do not produce fluff, like Lombardy poplar or white poplar. Moreover, only female black poplars produce wool, thus to avoid inconvenience for people but preserve clean air it should be enough to plant only male species.
However, according to the ecologist, there is a little problem in such logic. It turns out that cutting and shaping branches of poplars, people provoke the nature to defend itself and transform male species into female.

Wool is not so terrible as it is painted?

Doctors also do not beat an alarm regarding poplar wool. Moreover, experts notes that fluff itself does not cause allergic reaction.

"Poplar wool itself is not dangerous, but various allergens from other plants which settle on it are. There are can be 5-7 types of true allergens coming from trees, bushes, flowers, etc. Popular belief that fluff causes allergic reaction is just a poplar panic," professor Borys Pukhlyk, president of the Association of Allergists of Ukraine, tells.

At the same time, the specialist could not say how many Ukrainians suffer allergies. "There is no statistics of allergic diseases in Ukraine, thus I cannot give exact numbers. However, I can tell you how many people suffer pollen allergy. According to my observations and research, we speak about 8-10% of Ukraine's population. Thus, if Ukraine's population is 45 million people, nearly 4 million suffer this kind of allergy," the allergist specifies. 

He also notes that allergy has become a disease of children and young people. "Earlier we believed that allergy manifests at the age of 7-8. Now we observe allergic reaction among children of four years old. The disease develops and aggravates till the age of 20-25, but with aging the reaction weakens and by age of 50 people forget they've ever had any allergies. It is all about immune system," Borys Pukhlyk explains.

As for the treatment of allergic reaction, the expert recommends to consult a doctor and not to engage into self-treatment. There is no use in abusing antihistamines, as they remove only the symptoms, but do not cure the cause.

"Allergy requires proper examination and real treatment. It is better to start treatment in autumn to be cured by spring," he recommends. 
Folk remedy

Kyiv residents fight poplar fluff with any mean possible. Someone spends more time indoor and covers windows with anti-mosquito nets. Those who have no possibility to stay inside wear big sunglasses. 

Inessa complains about numerous poplar trees near her office. "I suffer allergies, and this period is a real torture for me. However, I try not to go out very often," the girl says.   

Oksana has very categorical position. "Poplar wool causes some much trouble to me. I suffer allergy, and it makes my eyes tear. Every day I go out and think about when they will finally cut them down. It's impossible to fight this wool. Can't they plant some other species, which do not produce this fluff?" she complains.

Galina, in turn, says the nature's tricks do not disturb her. "There is certain discomfort, but allergies have never happened. I don't suffer during this period," she told ForUm.

Another Kyiv resident Natalia says she is tired of poplar wool, but would never agree to cut the trees down. Considering the benefits poplars bring, she is ready to wait out this period. At home she uses ordinary anti-mosquito net.

It is obvious that nobody will cut down poplars in the near future. Moreover, considering ecological advantages such move will be ill-advised. However, landscapers should keep in mind what species to plant to make both, the environment and people, happy.

Tetyana Matsur


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