Just about every pollen season for more years than we’d like to admit, Dr. Jeffrey Rosch and i have been talking about seasonal allergies. The one regular topic: the weather
This year, cold temperatures into April delayed the start of tree pollen season.
“What happened is that the early and the mid-season trees all started at once and as they’re building then, of course, the late trees are going to be coming, so it’s probably going to be a pretty heavy pollen season,” Dr. Rosch says.
Don’t be surprised if your symptoms get worse before they get better. As the later blooming trees come in, so will the grass pollen.
To reduce your exposure to pollen, stay inside, especially in the mornings, close doors and windows to keep allergens out, clean air filters, bookshelves, and vents where pollen collects. Change your clothes and wash your hair after going outside, and vacuum twice a week while wearing a mask. Pollen, mold and dust collect in your carpet.
Fortunately, Dr. Rosch says allergy treatments have improved and most people don’t need to see a doctor to get relief.
“That’s really changed as far as treating allergy symptoms. We really now can say that most of the medicines we use are available over the counter,” he explains.
Dr. Rosch says anti-inflammatory nasal sprays such as fluticasone propionate (Flonase), triamcinolone acetonide (Nasacort), and budesonide (Rhinocort), work better for congestion, mucus draining, and other upper respiratory problems.
Sneezing, itchy eyes, and itchy ears respond better to antihistamines. Less-sedating pills include fexofenadine (Allegra) and loratadine. All of these drugs are available in the generic form. However, a prescription is required for antihistamine sprays.