Have you been sneezing like crazy this spring? Are your eyes constantly red, itchy and watering? Well, you are not alone. Doctors say the spring 2017 allergy season has brought more misery than usual for sufferers.
“They are pretty bad this year,” Sujan Patel, an assistant professor of allergy and immunology at New York University told Lifehacker.
Doctors report higher numbers of people coming into their offices complaining of allergy symptoms.
Wacky Winter Weather Causes Allergy Problems
But what’s causing all the problems this year? It turns out, the unusually mild winter weather in many parts of the U.S. have contributed to the problem. This caused trees to start blooming early. However, a sudden cold snap in March hit the pause button for them. Then once the warm weather returned, the tree blooms kicked up again, along with the normal grass and flower growth. This turned into a recipe for disaster for allergy sufferers.
“Trees and grass overlap; it’s just usually birch and oak. Usually other trees have already finished,” Dr. Leonard Bielory of Rutgers University told WCBS. “Those other trees, which contribute 50 percent of what we are seeing in pollen normally would be done by now.”
Usually, a rainy spring helps dampen the pollen spread. However, this year’s early bloom meant the rain actually burst the pollen particles open, allowing them to spread more.
Plus, excessive rain leads to another allergy sufferer’s enemy: mold.
“Not only did we have the early spring, the early bloom, with all the tree pollens but with the rain and the wet weather we are seeing quite a bit of the mold allergies as well,” Dr. Mollie Spire told KTVI.
How To Relieve Spring Allergy Symptoms
We may not be able to control the mold and pollens outdoors. However, we can build up some defenses against the allergens that make us miserable. Here are some doctor-recommended tips to help limit your exposure and suffering:
1. Close your windows
You may want to open the windows to let in some fresh air. But with those spring breezes, you’re upping your chances for allergy symptoms. Pollen floats in the air and an open window brings them into your home. Use a fan, or even better, an air conditioner to keep cool as the warmer weather ramps up this season.
2. Shower after going outside
After you take that fabulous walk in the spring air, consider a shower. Taking a shower before bedtime helps remove any molds or pollens you may have brought in with you. Skipping the shower might mean bringing those allergens to bed with you. Ick.
3. Start allergy medications
A good rule of thumb for allergy sufferers is to start taking your medication before your symptoms begin. Medication helps build your resistance to what triggers sneezing and itchiness. It may be a bit late now for this, but it’s good information to have for next season.
Those who don’t regularly take allergy medication should consider talking to their doctor if they have symptoms now. Your doctor can help come up with a treatment plan for the future.
4. Change HVAC filters twice a year
The best way to keep your home’s air clean is to change the air filter on the furnace or air conditioning system. This should be done twice a year for maximum effectiveness.
Following these simple tips can make your life a little more pleasant during peak allergy season.