Public ragweed allergy testing and information initiative held in Rijeka

Over a hundred people joined the public health action that involved testing for the ragweed allergen as part of the Allergic to Allergies project, carried out in Rijeka by the Dermatology and Venerology Clinic team of the Clinical Hospital Centre Rijeka in cooperation with JGL.

"Ragweed allergy affects around 30% of Europe’s population. The first step in alleviating its various symptoms is to confirm that the person is sensitive to ragweed. Although problems caused by the ragweed allergen are slightly less pronounced in citizens of Rijeka due the city’s closeness to the sea, they also represent a vulnerable group as ragweed pollen can travel over 100 kilometres.

The most common manifestations of ragweed allergies are congested nose, increased secretion, sneezing, a feeling of dryness and occasional nosebleeds, itchy skin, and eye redness,” says Liliana Stojnić Soša, MSc., MD, who conducted the tests together with her team at the Clinical Hospital Centre Rijeka.

The third annual public health action "Allergic to Allergies” aims to raise public awareness of the dangers of ragweed allergies and educate the public on the causes and ways to combat allergy symptoms, through traditional media outlets, social media, and the website. In addition, a new smartphone app "Alergični” (Allergic) has been created to enable users to take pictures of areas covered with ragweed with their phones and tag them on a map of Croatia using GPS. The app’s users have also taken part in the initiative, not only by identifying the locations of this dangerous plant, but also by removing it from these areas.

Citizens of Rijeka who found themselves on the main street, Korzo, had the opportunity to play the ragweed identification game and download the "Alergični” app, as well as to learn to recognise the plant using a simple test. All of the participants who successfully recognised ragweed received a small gift from JGL to mark the occasion.

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