Contact: John Broom
Heavy spring rain adds to fall allergy misery
People who suffer from allergies may have already experienced the itchy, watery eyes and stuffy nose of fall allergies. Why? Because ragweed has been churning out pollen since early August.
"Due to heavy spring rain, we had more vegetation and weed growth this summer. Ragweed is the primary cause of fall allergies," said Ashtabula County Medical Center Allergist/Immunologist Akhil Chouksey, MD. "If you are allergic to spring plants, you will most likely also suffer from ragweed or other fall allergies. Soon we’ll have leaves falling off the trees. Once they get wet, we can expect mold to appear."
Mold allergies have the same symptoms as ragweed allergies: stuffy nose and itchy, watery eyes.
"People who suffer from allergies should be looking forward to the first frost. Colder temperatures will reduce and eventually end the effects of the allergens. Of course winter brings a new set of allergy problems, but for fall allergies, cold weather is a blessing," Dr. Chouksey said.
In the meantime, Dr. Chouksey offered these tips for coping with fall allergies:
- Remove pollen from your skin and hair by showering frequently.
- Keep an air-conditioner running inside the home.
- Use a filter that removes pollen, mold and other particles from the air.
- Use a dehumidifier to keep air between 35% and 50% humidity.
- Do not hang clothes outside to dry.
- Remove decaying leaves from yards and gutters.
- When working outside, use a face mask.
- When you first turn on your car air conditioner, put the windows down and step out of the car. This allows the mold spores to disperse.
Over-the-counter medication may help alleviate symptoms, but finding the right one for your specific allergens is important. See an allergy specialist to diagnose correctly your allergens before you begin taking medication.
"Antihistamine eye drops or tablets help stop the itching, watery eyes and sneezing. Decongestants can help dry the mucus. There are health risks to using decongestant nasal sprays more than three days, and if you have high blood pressure some allergy medicine does more harm than good," Dr. Chouksey said.
A visit to an allergist will include a careful review of your personal health history, and questions about the plants and animals inside and outside your home.
"I enjoy talking with my patients to see how they live and work. This paints a picture of what allergens may be affecting them. I can fill out the details of that picture with breathing tests and allergy tests to pinpoint how sensitive a person is to specific allergens," Dr. Chouksey said.
Dr. Chouksey sees patients at The Ashtabula Clinic and Jefferson Family Health Center. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Chouksey in Ashtabula or Jefferson, call 440-997-6969. For more details about allergies, visit www.ACMCHealth.org and search for allergies.