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Huge portion of country to face brutal allergy season this spring

Posted at 2:18 PM, Mar 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-02 22:11:33-05

(WXYZ) — In our Health Alert tonight, spring is just around the corner and so is a long and severe allergy season. That’s according to experts who are predicting above-average pollen levels this year.

If you’re like many people, you’ve been waiting for the warmer weather to get out and enjoy the outdoors. But if you suffer from seasonal allergies, I’ve got bad news. Meteorologists are predicting above-normal rainfall and near-average temperatures. And these two together create ideal growing conditions. So that means lots of tree growth and lots of weed, grass and tree pollen. Also, the season might kick off earlier than usual as well. So if you suffer from allergies, you may be dealing with itchy eyes, sneezing, sniffling and coughing a lot sooner and longer than you’d like.

How can people manage spring allergy symptoms?

You’ve got to watch the pollen count. When it’s high, it helps to stay indoors. Especially if it’s a dry and windy day. Actually the best time to be outdoors is right after it rains, as rain clears pollen from the air. As for indoor strategies, now is a great time to clean your home and get rid of existing allergens. You’ll also want to keep your windows and doors closed so that the pollen can’t get inside your house. And I recommend a HEPA room air cleaner as a great way to clean indoor air.

What about medications? Can they start taking meds early?

Yes, taking medication before your symptoms kick in is best. There are many types of over-the-counter medications and remedies like oral antihistamines, decongestants, and nasal spray. But I suggest that you first see a board-certified allergist. Because there are other substances that could be causing your symptoms as well. And an allergist will be able to test you and identify what allergens are actually triggering your symptoms and what medication works best. They may also recommend immunotherapy which is allergy shots. These are really a great way to treat seasonal allergies. They actually help your body tolerate the allergen rather than reacting to it and triggering symptoms.