An Extra Intense Allergy Season

Updated: 05/15/2014 6:55 AM
Created: 05/14/2014 2:43 PM
By: Brittany Falkers

With sunny days like Wednesday, it seems like the long winter is finally over.  While outdoor enthusiasts are rejoicing, seasonal allergy sufferers are taking cover.  The season of congestion, itchy watery eyes and oh so many sneezes is here.

Josephine Lepak suffers from allergies all year long, but she says they always rev up and get worse want spring has sprung.
"This beautiful, but nasty season," Lepak said.  "As the grass starts coming and the trees start coming it's going to get worse again."

Many people might think this long winter and cold spring would keep allergy season short and sweet.  However, it could actually make it more intense, according to Allergist Alaadin Kandeel.

"One of the most important determining factors for pollen count is actually the preseason temperature," Kandeel said.  "meaning, if the temperature has been cold like it has been here, the trees, which is supposed to pollinate certain time will be delayed.  This means the trees will pollinate all together - this will reflect an increased pollen production and more symptoms for the allergy sufferers."

So, a short warm winter means a longer allergy season, but a long cold winter, like this year's, calls for an extreme season of suffering.

"The trees, which are supposed to pollinate at a certain time will be delayed," Kandeel said.  "The trees will pollinate all together, this will reflect an increased pollen production and more symptoms for the allergy sufferers."

Allergies are actually your immune system over-reacting.  It can't determine what's safe and what's not. A pollen isn't actually dangerous, but the immune system thinks it is - causing sneezing and watery eyes.

"It's not the pollen themselves, it's actually the immune system response that causes their symptoms," Kandeel said.

Many people find relief in over the counter antihistamines, such as nasal sprays and pills.  However, serious allergy suffers may choose allergy shots to ease that immune reaction. 

Bonnie Garner suffers from a range of allergies, both seasonal and year-round.  She's been using allergy shots for years to help reduce that immune hypersensitivity.  She says she used to use over the counter pills, but they weren't enough.

"They pretty much stopped working and you just feel kind of fuzzy mouthed with all that," Garner said.  "So somebody told me to try it and it actually worked for me very well."

It's not an option for everyone, but she recommends it for those who haven't found relief with other medications and treatments.

"It's worth it, it really is. Taking pills isn't worth it, doing this once a month or once a week and it's done," she said.

Kandeel says it's important to find what works for you, but he really suggests getting an allergy test.

"Not only to inform you what you're allergic to, but also so you know what to expect." Kandeel said.  "For example, if you are allergic to certain tree pollens - then you monitor the pollen count on the news or the radio then you know this not a good day to go out in the morning and go for a run for example

So, as the weather keeps warming and the trees start seeing those pretty little buds on them - beware, because your allergies might just get worse. 

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