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Experts Warn Allergy Season Could Be Worse This Year

Spring is in the air, and so is pollen! Some experts say our snowy winter could cause more sneezing and coughing this allergy season.
Spring is in the air, and so is pollen! Springfield-Greene County Health Department workers say so far pollen counts are what they would expect for this time of the year.  However, some allergy experts say this season could become worse. 

Beautiful signs of spring can cause ugly symptoms like coughing, sneezing, eye irritation, even asthma symptoms and a lack of energy.
Allergy sufferer, Lori, tells us her allergy experience.  "Itchy, scratchy eyes, and then they swell and tear up, and then I'm pretty much stuck in the house."

Lori took allergy tests, and now gets allergy shots to combat these symptoms.  "I didn't even think of it for all of these years, but I would get this coughing fit, and I always just said, 'Oh i've got this dry tickle.'  Come to find out after getting all this testing that's one of the signs that your allergies aren't really in tact," explains Lori.

This year could be worse for Lori and other allergy sufferers.  "Because of the fact that we've had a lot of snow, we're going to have a lot more moisture on the ground, which means that things will pollenate and grow faster," explains Dr. Minh-Thu Le, an allergist and immunologist with Cox Health.

Trees are starting to bloom now.  It means that soon we will enjoy the pretty sights of leafy trees, but it also means that those with tree allergies need to beware.

Tree pollen peaks now through early April, grass peaks in April, mold peaks July through September, and weed peaks in September.  Many people are allergic to all four types of allergens.  "They kind of have allergies all through the year.  At that point you're kind of stuck using medications for that amount of time," says Dr. Le.

There are three types of nasal medications: decongestants, antihistamines and nasal steroids.  Dr. Le says you should start using your allergy medication right before your major symptoms start, or as soon as you detect allergy symptoms coming on.  "So don't wait until your in the throws of congestion," says Dr. Le.

Dr. Le warns of the potential risk of using decongestants, like Neosynephrine, and Dristan.  "Unfortunately they're [decongestants] also the most addictive. So your nose starts to want to have that medication," explains Dr. Le.

There are key times when allergy sufferers should minimize outside activity.  "Just before the sun comes up and just before the sun goes down are the times when the pollen counts are the highest," says Dr. Le.

Experts say allergies have been on rise over the past couple decades.  "One reason we see more pollen is because the growing cycle has continued to increase.  We see that if you look at botany charts and things like that over the past 20 years," explains Dr. Le.

Allergies do not discriminate.  Anyone can get allergies at any age.  Dr. Le says she's had patients develop allergies at the age of 70.

Something that impacts pollen count is the wind direction.  Winds will come out of south tomorrow -- where there are currently high tree pollen counts.  Those with tree allergies may be sneezing or coughing more than usual!

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