Reading Eagle (PA)
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 and molds.
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 email@example.com.
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