CLEVELAND, Ohio – This year’s mild winter and rainy spring will bring a challenging and protracted season for airborne allergies, said Dr. Sam Friedlander, assistant professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine who specializes in allergy, asthma and sleep medicine. in university hospitals.
“It’s very strong right now, and I see a lot of people with allergies,” Friedlander said. “There’s just a ton of pollen flying around. And that’s bad.”
His patients complain of redness and itching in the eyes, sneezing and a runny nose. “People have been really worried about other people thinking they have COVID-19,” he said.
This isn’t the only way COVID-19 is making this allergy season more difficult.
COVID-19, allergies, colds and flu have similar symptoms. While all four can cause fatigue, colds, flu, and COVID-19 will tire you out more immediately compared to seasonal allergies, according to Accuweather.
For now, oaks, beech and sycamore trees are pumping pollen into the air, but don’t expect a break when you’re done. Grass will thicken from late May to July, followed by ragweed in August and September, and then mold spores in fall.
Pollen is one of the most common triggers of seasonal allergies, or hay fever.
Every spring, summer, and fall—and even in winter in some states—the plants release tiny pollen grains to fertilize other plants of the same species. Most pollen that causes allergies comes from trees, grasses, and grasses, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.
These plants make small, light, dry pollen grains that are carried by the wind. When it gets in the eyes, nose, and lungs, it causes itchy eyes and sneezing in people with allergies.
Friedlander has seen large clouds of pollen in his backyard during the summer. A single ragweed plant is estimated to produce one billion pollen grains, he said, and some tree pollen can travel 100 miles.
Those who often suffer from allergies I wonder how much pollen they breathe in during a pollen-filled day. Pollen is measured not by teaspoons full, but by density. A standard sampler collects pollen, or mold spores, in the air, and that number is mathematically converted to the density of allergens per cubic meter of air, Friedlander said.
Not sure if your runny nose is from a sinus infection, a cold, or an allergy? Get a diagnosis from an allergist or other primary care provider. If an allergy is confirmed, Friedlander said, the caregiver will develop an individualized treatment plan.
“There is no reason to suffer,” he said.
Below is information on seasonal allergy symptoms, ways to reduce your contact with pollen, how to get pollen predictions and more. Friedlander, along with the Mayo Clinic, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America provided information.
What is an allergy?
Allergies occur when the immune system reacts to a foreign substance called an allergen.
The most common indoor/outdoor allergens are tree, grass pollen, mold spores, cockroaches, pet dander, dust mites, and rodent urine.
More than 19 million American adults have been diagnosed with hay fever in the past 12 months, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There is no cure for allergies, but they can be managed with both preventive and curative measures.
Metro Dayton and Toledo rank high in Allergy Capitals . rankings
Dayton is the worst metro area in Ohio for people with allergies, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America 2022 report for allergy capitals.
Dayton ranked No. 13 in the national rankings of 100 metro areas, followed by Ohio Toledo (No. 36), Columbus (No. 39), Akron (No. 47) Cleveland (No. 52) and Cincinnati (No. 70).
Worst places for allergies nationwide: No. Scranton, Pennsylvania; No. 2 Wichita, KS; and No. 3 McAllen, Texas.
The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America report ranked allergy capitals on 100 U.S. cities based on how difficult it is to live with allergies in the spring or fall in those cities. Rankings are based on spring and fall pollen scores, over-the-counter drug use, and availability of allergists or immunologists.
Hay fever symptoms may start or worsen at a certain time of the year. They include:
* Runny nose and congestion
* Watery, itchy, red eyes
Itchy nose, or itching in the roof of the mouth or throat
* Swelling of the skin under the eyes
Hay fever and the common cold have similar symptoms. Seasonal allergies cause a runny nose with a thin, fever-free secretion, and symptoms begin after exposure to the allergen. The common cold causes a runny nose with a watery or thick secretion, body aches, and fever that begins one to three days after exposure and lasts for a week or less.
Ways to reduce contact with pollen
Here are some tips to reduce the chance of getting infected with pollen:
*Stay indoors on dry and windy days. The best time to go outside is after a good rain, which helps remove pollen from the air.
* Check pollen counts or daily forecasts and plan outdoor activities on days when pollen counts are expected to be lower.
* Keep windows closed during peak pollen times.
* Use central air conditioning with air purification and change the filter regularly.
* Avoid mowing the lawn, pulling weeds and other gardening work that triggers allergens.
* Wear sunglasses and a hat when outdoors.
* Shower and shampoo before bed to remove pollen from your hair and skin.
* Change and wash clothes after outdoor activities. Do not dry the laundry on an outside line.
* Limit close contact with pets that spend a lot of time outdoors. Wipe pets with a towel before they enter your home.
* Avoid outdoor activities in the early morning when pollen count is highest.
* Take off your shoes before entering your home.
* Wash bed sheets in hot, soapy water once a week.
Where to find pollen forecast
The Academy of Medicine of Cleveland and Northern Ohio (AMCNO) Pollen Line. Call 216-520-1050 or visit www.amcno.org.
Pollen.com, The Weather Channel, the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, and Accuweather all have forecasts, too.
Allergy medications and treatments
Over-the-counter antihistamines and prescribed allergy medications can be taken before allergy season begins.
Immunotherapy also provides relief. These medications, taken as monthly injections or tablets, help the body lose sensitivity to pollen and reduce the severity of the allergy. Newer immunotherapies have improved in recent years so that they take effect faster.
Allergy sufferers can also try:
* Corticosteroid nasal sprays
* A long-acting anti-allergic drug that does not cause drowsiness
* Decongestants (consult your doctor before using them if you have glaucoma, high blood pressure, thyroid disease, or difficulty urinating)
Climate change and allergy
Climate change affects people with allergies by contributing to longer and more severe allergy seasons.
Climate changes – such as heat waves and droughts – can cause air to stagnate. When the air isn’t moving, the pollutants react together in the heat and the sun, creating smog. More air pollution and smog lead to higher levels of carbon dioxide, which leads to higher temperatures.
Warmer temperatures and increased levels of carbon dioxide lead to longer growing seasons, higher concentrations of pollen, and increased exposure to allergens.