A touch of the sniffles for some, but allergies can be more serious for others. | Jaume Morey


Around a quarter of the Balearic population is estimated to suffer from an allergy, with most allergies being of a respiratory nature.

Dr. Alberto Oehling of the Balearic centre for allergies and asthma says that the lack of rain and higher than usual temperatures in February have brought forward the spring allergy season. Pollen typically begins to be a problem in March, but not this year. "There are higher levels of cypress pollen, which we tend to get later."

He has already had consultations with patients, pointing out that their condition is no worse than usual but that it will last longer if the current weather pattern persists. Even if there is some rain, he notes, proteins from fallen pollen are released into the air that are more allergenic.

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Dr. Oehling explains that there is now "a second spring" in September and October and so another season for allergies. This is because of grasses, and he attributes this to climate change.

There are more people suffering from allergies. "It is one of the diseases that has increased its prevalence the most in recent years. In Spain, some eight million people are allergic to pollen."

Right now, the processionary caterpillar isn't helping. The caterpillars have emerged earlier than normal because of the higher temperatures. "They would usually stay in their nests because of the cold." But caterpillars are being seen everywhere and are just adding to allergic reactions.