Pollen wreaks havoc on allergies

Pollen wreaks havoc on allergies
Pollen is making many Pine Belt residents miserable. A doctor advises what you can do to find some relief. Source: Flickr Creative Commons

PINE BELT (WDAM) - With the summer months approaching, and pollen blowing in the breeze, most people with allergy issues start to have problems.

"This is definitely the season where allergies are becoming a big big problem for a lot of folks," said Benjamin Burkett, MD, Merit Health Medical Group. "We have a lot of allergies in the air right now, I looked today, Oak is in the air, there's some weeds that are in the air this time of year."

Most people just see the yellow pollen that collects on their car in the spring and summer, but there are plenty of others most don't even see.

"It's often times pollen that you can't see, we all see the yellow pollen on our car hoods, but a lot of what causes the problem are the pollens that you really can't see in the air," said Burkett.

Most of the major issues in south Mississippi come from grass and tree pollen this time of year, and often has many people looking to weather forecast, hoping for rain.

"It does help to get some rain, but that rain only washes it out of the air for just a few hours to maybe a day or two and then folks are right back having problems," Burkett said.

Some of the main issues associated with allergy issues can range from watering eyes, to a full-blown sinus infection.

"A lot of people come in and they have been sneezing and coughing and have got an itchy nose, and runny nose and puffy eyes, itchy eyes those are all big symptoms of allergy related problems," said Burkett.

For most patients, they really don't know what they are allergic to, but if you can help pinpoint or narrow it down without an extensive allergy test, that is helpful when treating the issues.

"If you can pinpoint what you might be allergic to sometimes that's helpful, but often times we can't determine exactly what it is that person is allergic to," said Burkett. "You can get allergies, and if they are left untreated then it can develop into a sinus infection."

Burkett said that if things like that go untreated and you just try to ignore the issue, then bigger issues come up, such as the sinus infection.

Helpful Tips:

While experts say the best way to treat seasonal allergies is by avoiding the allergens themselves, there are a few tricks to making life with seasonal allergies more bearable:

  • Shower in the evening – outdoor allergens can stick to clothes skin, and hair.
  • Wash bedding in very hot water at least once per week.
  • Cover bedding and pillows with allergen-proof covers.
  • Replace carpets and upholstered furniture with surfaces that are easier to clean such as wood and leather.
  • Remove stuffed toys from the home.
  • Fix any water leaks and clean up water damage where mold thrives.
  • Use an air conditioner with a HEPA filter rather than using ceiling fans which stir allergens.
  • Check the local pollen forecasts and minimize time spent outside when pollen counts are high.
  • Try to keep windows shut and consider wearing a dust mask when outside, especially on windy days.

Medications are also an effective way to manage allergies, but healthcare professionals should be consulted to help find the medication that is best for your particular allergy.