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Joan Collins THE Balearic University's (UIB) leading botany Professor, Leonard Llorenc, warned yesterday that the Balearics is on the brink of a critical situation due to the high concentration of pollen in the atmosphere and said that this Spring “will be complicated” for those with a sensitivity to pollen. Between 20 and 25 percent of Balearic residents suffer from allergic rhinitis (more commonly known as hay fever), a disease which is caused by the pollen of some types of plants and by dust mites. There is more incidence of it in Spring and Autumn. Some 50 percent of nasal disorders treated by family doctors in the Balearics are cases of chronic rhinitis, some being allergic rhinitis. The rainfall during the Autumn caused this high concentration of pollen said Llorenc. The figures for the concentration of pollen on the islands are obtained via studies done jointly by the Ear, Nose and Throat Service of Son Dureta Hospital in Palma and the Botany Department of the UIB. The head doctor of the Ear, Nose and Throat department of Son Dureta, Ramona Soler, pointed out the importance of these investigations in the prevention and treatment of allergies. The botanical aspect of the study consists in the placing of air filters to collect grains of pollen and fungus spores for later analysis. From this analysis the cycles of pollen production in the vegetation of the islands can be determined and it can be established that ornamental types of plants produce more allergies and because of this are less suitable for gardens and public parks, said Llorenc. The Botany Department of the UIB has a device which captures pollen and spores in the centre of Palma and another on the outskirts which are connected to the State network of Aerobiology. The clinical aspect of this study means that doctors are able to inform allergic patients about the times of the year when there is more pollen in the air which causes their discomfort, assess them for symptoms of this and take the appropriate preventative measures. Doctor Soler said it is important that those who are allergic to pollen should, at times when there are high levels of pollen, keep the windows of their houses and cars closed and wear sunglasses which cover their eyes to the maximum degree possible.