Allergy Sufferers Beware: Spring Brings High Pollen Count, This Season Worse Than Normal

Allergy sufferers are in for a miserable spring this year as conditions across the country seem designed to raise the misery index, experts say.

The long wet winter in the Northeast followed by what is predicted to be a dry spring will result in unusually high pollen levels, for a shorter, but more intense allergy season. Meanwhile, the drought in the Southwest means a longer allergy season.

Dr. Tanya Laidlaw, director of translational research in allergy at Brigham and Women’s Hospital told CBS, allergy symptoms could be worse this year because of the higher pollen counts.

“The trees are really primed for a heavy pollen season so we expect that the pollen counts will be as high, if not higher than usual. The days of symptoms might actually be more severe.”

San Francisco allergist Dr. Russell Leong told the San Francisco Examiner that people who suffer from allergy symptoms should take special precautions.

“We tell people with allergies to avoid pollen. We tell them to not open the windows in their house, to use the air conditioning in their car, to stay inside. But when the weather is so nice, people want to go outside and enjoy it.”

Doctors recommend allergy sufferers begin taking their medication up to a week before the allergy season begins to ease their suffering; taking preventative action is better than treating symptoms.

Medications such as an oral antihistamine or over-the-counter intranasal steroids are recommended for allergy relief. Those who suffer from severe allergy symptoms are advised to see a doctor for relief.

Products like Claritin and Allegra have been shown to ease patient suffering, while Homeopathic remedies in the form of dairy products are also available to ease the misery index.

Milk and yogurt have been shown to reduce the number of molecules associated with allergies, according to Chemical and Engineering News.

Other tips for avoiding allergy symptoms include staying inside between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m. when the pollen count is highest and asking visitors to remove their shoes before coming inside.

Allergy sufferers should also avoid mowing their lawn or hanging laundry to dry outside where pollen is heaviest.

Dr. Mauli Desai, an assistant professor of medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital, told CBS News that 10 to 30 percent of adults in the United States suffer from allergies.

“If you’ve had spring allergies in the past, now is the time to prepare, before the pollen count mounts and allergy season goes into full swing.”

[Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images]