Is this the Worst Allergy Season?
Every spring and fall, I see patients complaining of allergies, and every spring and fall, I see a different group of patients coming in saying that their allergies are worse this year than they were last. Next year, I know that it won’t be the same people who were here this year. It’ll be a different cohort. Not to say that people won’t have allergies that year but it’ll be a different group of people who seem to be suffering more than the other folks with allergies.
A lot of it has to do with our ever-changing climate. Some years are wet and some years are dry. So, sometimes there are higher levels of mold, sometimes there are higher levels of ragweed, and sometimes there’s more tree pollen in the air. Some years the grass pollen seems to take over in the spring and really give people with those allergies a lot of trouble. Some people have indoor allergies that would be more consistent with dust mites and molds. Those are more year-round allergies and they don’t see as much fluctuation in their symptoms.
We know there’s a lot of things that we can do to help with allergies. You see all the commercials on TV for the antihistamines and the nasal steroid sprays. There are some non-pharmaceutical options that people have for their allergies. I’ve had a lot of patients have good success with nasal rinses. There are different sinus rinses that people use, some people refer to them as Neti Pots. But, rinsing the sinuses seems to remove the allergens from the airway where we’re sensitized to those agents. By simply removing ourselves from the environment that we’re allergic to, we can have really good control of our allergies.
The same thing happens for indoor allergies. We know that people who have mold and dust allergies do better when they have hardwood floors versus carpet. It’s much easier to keep a hardwood floor clean than it is to keep the dust out of the carpet.
We always recommend:
- Removing stuffed animals from the children’s rooms
- Not letting pets sleep in the bedrooms
- Potentially, using a HEPA filter, which is a special filter device that pulls the small particles out of the air
- Keeping the windows closed during the spring, fall, and summer months for people who have outdoor allergies
- Using hypoallergenic mattress covers and hypoallergenic pillow covers to keep the dust mites away
- Washing the sheets once or twice a week to try and keep dust, pollen, and mold counts out of the bedroom as much as possible
But still, every year, we’re going to see a different group of people who are suffering from allergies and having to do more this year than they did the year before.