It’s finally feeling like Spring outside, but that also means Allergy Season is at its height. We spoke with a local Doctor about what this season will look like for allergy sufferers.
Because of this year’s unusually mild Winter, Allergy Season is arriving early and in full force. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, allergies are one of the most common medical conditions affecting people in the United States. The most frequent allergy occurs during the Spring season when trees are blooming and pollen filters through the air. People often refer to this as “hay fever” and about 29% of adults and 19% of children are affected.
Allison Harbart M.D., an Otolaryngologist with UPMC saying: “It’s been a long Winter and now it’s such a beautiful time of year. However, the pollens from the flowers and the trees are causing many of us to have the dreaded hay fever symptoms such as itchy watery eyes, sneezing, runny nose, congestion. Mainly because of the molds that were high because nothing was completely frozen outside so people had allergy symptoms all Winter and then it caused the growing season to be earlier. It’s turning out to be a longer pollen season for us, unfortunately.”
Dr. Harbart tells us there is no age limit to allergies, they can develop at any time at any age. There are however a few things you can do to help your symptoms. Dr. Harbart saying: “We need to make changes so that we can get along with our environment. If you’re outside and the pollen is everywhere, when you come in you want to get all of that off of you. We recommend taking a shower, changing your clothes. If you’re inside you should try to keep your windows closed because that helps to keep the pollen from coming indoors. Our pets, are outside running all around the grass and then when they come in they bring all of those allergens in with them. We recommend bathing them frequently and wiping their paws off as they come inside.”
Dr. Harbart continued: “The second line of defense is medications. Now, most of our allergy medications are available over the counter. The first ones are all the antihistamines. They come in eye drops, nasal sprays, and pills.” If over the counter medicine doesn’t work, the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology recommends visiting an Allergist and considering allergy shots.
Dr. Harbart, in closing: “We don’t have a cure for all of these things but we want to make it more tolerable because it does affect everyone’s quality of life. We want to make the season more enjoyable for everyone.”
If you have further questions about Allergies this season, contact your local Doctor.