Navigation Links
Springtime Allergies More Severe, Last Longer Now, Experts Say

By Serena Gordon
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, March 28 (HealthDay News) -- In much of the United States, there's little evidence of spring yet, unless you have seasonal allergies.

Folks with spring allergies are likely already experiencing sneezing, watery eyes and fatigue because of tree pollen, experts say.

The northern part of the country typically has high tree pollen levels in March, April and May, although this year's colder winter may have delayed the process in some areas, said Dr. Kevin McGrath, a spokesman for the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. Southern states start a bit earlier, and can have high tree pollen counts beginning in January, he said.

People with allergies, sometimes called hay fever, may notice more severe symptoms because of higher pollen counts, and allergy seasons may last longer, McGrath said.

"We've seen record pollen counts for trees and ragweed [the most common fall allergy trigger] for the past few years, and the seasons may be a bit longer -- about six to seven more days in the Midwest and a few more days in the Northeast," said McGrath. "These changes are definitely linked to higher levels of carbon dioxide."

Although he said these changes were likely because of climate change, there isn't definitive evidence to prove the link, he noted.

The delay in tree pollens this spring means that people with allergies may experience a "stacking" effect, said McGrath. Normally, different trees have peak pollen levels at different times. This year, there may be significant overlap, which may mean a tough few weeks for people with multiple tree allergies.

Dr. David Lang, section head of allergy and immunology at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, said it can be difficult to know if your symptoms are due to a cold or an allergy. If you have a fever, it's a cold or flu and not allergies, Lang said. If your symptoms last longer than 10 days, it's allergies rather than a cold, he added. And if you feel worse outside, but better when you come inside, you're probably experiencing allergies.

If you have symptoms year-round, you probably have indoor allergies as well, he said. Common indoor allergens are dust mites and pets, he said.

Symptoms of seasonal allergies include sneezing and an itchy feeling, sometimes in the ears or on the roof of the mouth, Lang said. A big symptom that people often don't attribute to allergies is fatigue, McGrath added.

"Allergies interfere with restful REM sleep, so someone with allergies can sleep eight, nine or even 10 hours and wake up feeling tired, sore and achy. Allergies can really wear people down and decrease their quality of life," said McGrath.

Both experts agreed that many people can be helped by avoiding pollens that trigger their allergies, and from using over-the-counter antihistamines. They also recommended beginning medications before symptoms begin. This gives you a "priming effect," said McGrath, and helps keep your allergies from worsening throughout the season.

Of the three aspects of allergy management -- avoidance, medication and immunotherapy -- avoidance is probably the most important, said Lang. So, during pollen season, he recommends closing your windows and keeping your air conditioners running to filter the air. "If you keep your windows open, your indoor environment is just like the outdoors," noted Lang.

This advice holds true for your car too. Close car windows, and keep the convertible top up.

Also, exercise early or late in the day when pollen counts are lower.

"One thing people overlook is their hair," McGrath said. "The static from your hair attracts pollens and molds. At night, when you lay down, those pollens and molds are released onto your pillowcases. If you can, it's a good idea to wash your hair at night. Otherwise, run a damp cloth over your hair before you get into bed."

If avoidance or over-the-counter antihistamines don't help, doctors can prescribe nasal steroid sprays or nasal antihistamines, Lang said. McGrath advised not using over-the-counter decongestants as they can cause rebound stuffiness.

Both experts said that immunotherapy, also known as allergy shots, can help people with more severe allergies. But this treatment takes dedication. It requires at least weekly visits for six to12 months, followed by a monthly shot for as long as three to five years.

McGrath said that people shouldn't suffer through their allergies, as effective treatments are available.

More information

Learn more about seasonal allergies from the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

SOURCES: David Lang, M.D., section head, allergy and immunology, Cleveland Clinic, Ohio; Kevin McGrath, M.D., spokesman, American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, Arlington Heights, Ill.

Copyright©2012 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Nip Springtime Allergies in the Bud
2. Does Your Child Have Seasonal Allergies or a Cold?
3. City kids more likely to have food allergies than rural ones
4. NYC Doc Announces 3 Surprising Ways to Beat Seasonal Allergies
5. Study identifies causes for high rates of allergic reactions in children with food allergies
6. Rate of severe reactions higher than thought in young children with food allergies
7. More Vigilance Needed to Protect Kids With Food Allergies
8. Columbus Allergist Dr. Summit Shah Discusses Recent Findings on Food Allergies and Exercise-Induced Anaphylaxis
9. Safe Composting Tips for People With Food Allergies
10. Exposure Therapy May Be Option for Kids Egg, Milk Allergies
11. People with allergies may have lower risk of brain tumors
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Springtime Allergies More Severe, Last Longer Now, Experts Say
(Date:12/1/2015)... ... December 01, 2015 , ... World Patent Marketing ... Jar, a container patent that allows for easier packing and organizing of items into ... worth $90 billion," says Scott Cooper, CEO and Creative Director of World Patent Marketing ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... ... ... Tampa is the first health care provider in the region to offer the vBloc® ... a vagal blocking therapy, delivered via the Maestro® System, for the treatment of adult patients ... 40 to 45 kg, or a BMI of at least 35 to 39.9 kg with ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... ... ... Dr. Paul Vitenas, one of the top cosmetic surgeons in Texas ... the Best Single Physician Practice in the nation. Dr. Vitenas and his practice were ... the industry publication. , Dr. Vitenas said he was very honored to receive ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... , ... December 01, 2015 , ... ... the 7th Annual 2015 Golden Bridge Business Awards under the New Products and ... zero capex web based sample management software that helps labs organize ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... December 01, 2015 , ... ... facilities, radiographic technicians must mark the film for accurate interpretation by the radiologist. ... of. Fortunately, an inventor from Sacramento, Calif., has found a way to alleviate ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:12/1/2015)... , Dec. 1, 2015 Assurex Health, ... GeneSight® Psychotropic test giving healthcare providers an expanded range ... for patients suffering from depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, ... health conditions. i .   ... With the addition of two new drug ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... Dec. 1, 2015  AccuTEC Blades, a leader ... corporate logo and brand identity program. The new ... engineering of bladed products where "the edge makes ... --> Serving manufacturers and distributors of ... glass equipment, AccuTEC,s product lines include those acquired ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... -- Six months of adjunctive metformin therapy does not improve glycemic ... new research from T1D Exchange and funded by ... effect on measures of obesity, including weight and BMI. The ... of the American Medical Association , are from the largest ... overweight and obese adolescents with type 1 diabetes. ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: