Allergies This Season Could Be Brutal


allergiesIf you’ve been sniffling and sneezing the last few weeks, you’re not alone. Spring allergy season is here and this year may be far worse than usual.

Aaaah the beauty of spring. While the warm weather is welcome, the spring allergies that affect almost 30 percent of us are not.

Judith Gaines said she battles her symptoms with allergy shots, and knows her triggers.

“Most of the green things — trees, grasses, various kinds of grasses, weeds, some flowers,” Gaines said.

And Dr. Paul Ehrlich of Beth Israel Medical Center said the warm weather and heavy rains early this year may make this a particularly severe allergy season.

“What’s bothering people now are the tree pollen, and what will bother them in May will be the grass pollen,” Dr. Ehrlich said.

But there are some simple steps to fight those pesky allergies. First, follow the pollen count. When it’s high avoid outdoor activities, or wear a mask while mowing the lawn or doing garden work.

And if you live in the city, don’t think the pollen can’t effect you. Both tree and grass pollen can travel for hundreds of miles from the most remote farms to the concrete jungle.

Keep the pollen outside — close your windows at home and in the car. Your air conditioner can be used to clear the air as long as the filter is clean.

Rinsing out your nose with simple saline irrigation may also help.

“Nasal irrigation is great because it clears a lot of pollen out of the nose. It gives a good spray to the nose and washes everything out,” Dr. Ehrlich said.

If the symptoms are still too uncomfortable, an over-the-counter antihistamine, like Claritin or Zyrtec may help. Nasal spray antihistamines and eye drops are also available by prescription — as are other classes of allergy drugs, like Singulair.

Many patients ask “when should I get allergy shots?” And the answer is if you have symptoms often and other treatments have failed. The shots are very effective, although the treatment takes time. You may need to see the doctor every six weeks for up to five years.

Even more children suffer from hay fever than adults. The illness may affect up to 40 percent of our kids.

{Health Watch/Noam Newscenter}