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Archive for Thursday, May 31, 2007

This year’s allergy season not so dandy

Sufferers battle sniffles from high pollen counts

May 31, 2007

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Allergies are nothing new to Anne Weltmer. Like many people, she endures a stuffed-up nose and sinus headaches each year as a transition into summer.

High pollen levels can make life miserable for allergy sufferers. Plants such as this dandelion along the Kansas River can be many people's worst enemy.

High pollen levels can make life miserable for allergy sufferers. Plants such as this dandelion along the Kansas River can be many people's worst enemy.

But she can't remember a year that her allergies have been as problematic as this year.

And she says she's not alone.

"It's been really bad this spring," the recent Kansas University graduate said. "The doctor just told me it was bad for everyone, and a lot of my friends have been feeling bad, too."

Dr. Jim Ransom, an allergist with the Topeka Allergy & Asthma Clinic, said that tree and grass pollen counts have been above average this year, possibly contributing to an upsurge in allergy suffering.

"It's too soon to say for sure because the grass season is not over," he said.

Mary Knapp, a climatologist with Kansas State University, said this year's unusual spring weather, which has been soggier than most years, could contribute to more red eyes and scratchy noses.

"It's been a very wet spring, so you've got a lot of mold that would be showing up from that," Knapp said.

Also, Knapp said an unseasonably cold stretch of weather in early April has caused some plants to bloom late and others to bloom again, which has re-released allergens into the air and prolonged the peak allergy season for some people.

The trouble with suffering from outdoor allergies is that they're difficult to escape. Ransom said being around allergens for 15 minutes or less can be enough to trigger a reaction.

"The degree of exposure it takes to turn on a system is really only a few breaths in outdoor air," Ransom said.

The other problem is different trees and grasses release allergens throughout the warm season. Ransom said ragweed and some mold spores get released in summer and into the fall.

"You see, there's something for everybody," Ransom said.

For Weltmer, the annual allergy sufferer who's had to deal with several sinus infections already this year, medications such as Allegra have helped.

Other remedies might be closer to the refrigerator.

Weltmer suggested drinking warm milk and honey to help an itching throat.

"Most of the time it will stop me from coughing," she said.

Comments

DaveR 7 years, 4 months ago

Re: Weltmer suggested drinking warm milk and honey to help an itching throat.

I've heard it said that allergies are relieved if one eats locally produced honey. Since honey is produced from pollen, that seems logical to me.

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TheEleventhStephanie 7 years, 4 months ago

Try Zicam. My allergies are always awful, and this year they haven't been as bad. Stuff's a miracle.

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mom_of_three 7 years, 4 months ago

have had allergies since I was born, and this year, so far, not too many problems, but started taking my allergy medicine over 2 months ago. Have also heard about eating locally produced honey, which I have been doing this year. maybe it is true....Also heard that elderberry extract will do the same thing.
You name the allergy drug, I have tried it, and nothing works 100% (except hydrocortisone and too much of that isn't good for you). Right now, I am taking a drug, nose spray and eye drops. A little itchy throat and sometimes very itchy eyes, but I am still much better than I was last year.

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