Allergy Season Expectations

We may be getting some relief from this harsh winter weather, but Mother Nature has waged a new war with allergy sufferers.

Typically allergy season begins in March when the flowers are blooming and grass is growing. Because of the record winter the Midwest has seen this year, spring hasn’t full sprung, giving many a delayed start to their symptoms. Taking us from the polar vortex to the pollen vortex.

“Usually we need a good five to seven days of a strong warm period, and we haven’t had that yet, so most likely we are going to have everything bloom all at once and then unfortunately people’s allergies will be a little worse this year,” said Dr. Elias Shaheen, M.D. with Edward Medical Group.

Dr. Shaheen, who suffers from seasonal allergies himself, says they can be miserable if not treated properly.

“Typical symptoms are itchy eyes, itchy ears and sometimes cough and congestion,” said Dr. Shaheen.

Many patients confuse their symptoms of seasonal allergies with the common cold. So Dr. Shaheen suggests if you have any of those symptoms see your doctor, because if they are seasonal allergies and they’re left untreated the problems can get worse.

“This can progress to ear infections, sinus infections, and sore throats. It can be uncomfortable,” said Dr. Shaheen. “So you definitely want to tackle these before they get worse.”

Allergies can be diagnosed with a simple skin test, and as for those who know they suffer from allergies?

“If you want to be proactive there are good things over the counter like antihistamines that if approved by your doctor you can take daily to prevent symptoms,” explained Dr. Shaheen. “I would start taking those now.”

Also, a few non-medical ways to brace for allergy season is to:
-Replace your filters to rid your home of mold
-Leave windows closed to keep out pollen
-Wear oversized sunglasses to protect your eyes from airborne allergens
-Exercise indoors on high pollen days

The 2014 allergy season will continue through the summer months and officially end on November 30.

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