Record Pollen Season Brings Misery Across Country: Allergists Offer Survival Tips
Record snow, heavy early spring rains, followed by a rapid warm up have created the perfect storm for allergy season. But allergists from the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology can offer ways to help people find relief.
"It's one of the worst seasons we have seen for tree pollens, but there's no reason to suffer, you can get relief," said allergist Dr. Sami Bahna, president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI). "In addition to over the counter medications, relief options include immunotherapy, allergy testing and vaccine and prescription medications."
Eight in 10 patients in an ACAAI consumer survey said taking matters into their own hands with self-medication falls short of being "very effective." The survey found that those who had seen an allergist were nearly three times more likely to say their treatment was effective than those who took over-the-counter medicine.
Allergists recommend allergy sufferers:
- Know your triggers. You may think you know that pollen is causing your suffering, but other substances may be involved as well. More than two-thirds of spring allergy sufferers actually have year-round symptoms. An allergist can help you find the source of your suffering and stop it, not just treat the symptoms.
- Work with your allergist to devise strategies to avoid your triggers, such as:
- Monitor pollen and mold counts — most media report this information during allergy seasons.
- Keep windows and doors shut at home, and in your car during allergy season.
- Stay inside during mid-day and afternoon hours when pollen counts are highest.
- Take a shower, wash hair and change clothing after being outdoors working or playing.
- Wear a mask when doing outdoor chores like mowing the lawn. An allergist can help you find the type of mask that works best.
One of the most effective ways to treat pollen allergies is with immunotherapy. These injections slowly introduce a little bit of what causes your allergy, so your body learns to tolerate it rather than react with sneezing, a stuffy nose or itchy, watery eyes.