April 16--After months of cold, spring is finally here. And while that means
warmer temperatures, it also means pollen is in the air.
Dr.Edward Skorpinski of the Allergy and Asthma Center of Wyomissing discussed
what to expect this allergy season.
What is the allergy season looking like this year?
I think generally this area is a very good climate for growing allergic
pollinating plants. This year, we'll see a condensed season. We had a long
winter, and the weather stayed cold. Trees that would normally have pollinated
in March haven't started yet. They have to play catch up. So it's going to be a
shorter allergy season, but a more severe season.
Do seniors have any unique allergy problems?
Seniors can have other conditions that can bother their noses, as well. They
might be bothered by the springtime pollen, but there may be other things that
can be unique to their situation to make symptoms even worse. A lot of seniors
are more likely to have irritable noses. Unfortunately, it's one of the things
that comes along with the aging process. Their noses are going to be stuffier
and runnier, even if it's not caused by pollen.
Is there anything I can do to limit my exposure to pollen?
There are steps you can take to avoid pollen exposure, such as keeping doors and
windows closed in your home. You want to keep outdoor pollens outdoors. I know
it's tempting to open a window to let the fresh air come in, but you're letting
all that pollen come in, as well. If you're spending a lot of time outdoors,
take a shower when you come inside and change your clothes so don't track pollen
into the house.
How does last year's allergy season compare to this year?
Last year, we didn't have much of a winter so things started pollinating sooner.
We had a longer season. Maybe it wasn't as severe in some respects, but it
stretched out a lot longer for people. In general, we get enough rain in this
part of the country that really every year is going to be a good pollen season.
It's just our climate.
When should a person seek help from an allergist or family doctor for allergies?
When the simple measures aren't helping your symptoms. About 20 percent of the
public will experience some kind of chronic runny nose symptom. A lot of them
say: "Oh I've got allergies. I just take a little Claritin, and I feel fine."
When those tried and true simple measures are not working and you're having
severe symptoms, that's the time to seek help. There may be things besides
allergies bothering you. Or you may need some combination of prescription
medicines or formal allergy testing. Or if allergies lead to problems with
asthma or sinus infections, that's a sign to visit your doctor.
What are common allergy symptoms and triggers?
Symptoms include nasal congestion, runny nose, sneezing, nasal itching, watery
and itchy eyes, sore or itchy throat, facial swelling and cough secondary to
post-nasal drip. Allergic triggers could be pollens, animal dander, dust mites
Has it been a busy season thus far?
I really expect this week will be busy. The phone will start ringing off the
hook. It's been sort of sporadic up until now. I think we're going to see a huge
increase in the folks having issues.
Contact Matthew Nojiri: 610-371-5062 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
(c)2013 the Reading Eagle (Reading, Pa.)
Visit the Reading Eagle (Reading, Pa.) at readingeagle.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services