Allergies in Bloom!




Allergies in Bloom!
By: Wendy Ray

Runny nose, sneezing, itchy, watery eyes. There's a good chance it's not a cold, but allergies causing your ailments.

This year your allergies may have hit you a little later than usual, thanks to all the snow we got over the
 So what's causing your allergies to flare up? We're in the middle of tree pollen season. The good news is there are things you can do to make your allergies better, the bad news, this could be just the beginning.

23-year-old Matt Strickland has suffered with allergies since he was a child. A shot once a week keeps his under control. But this time of year with things blooming and trees budding, there's plenty of pollen in the air, and that stirs up Strickland's allergies even more. "Everything from my ears will stop up, runny eyes, runny nose. It's hard to function.  Just like any other sinus infection, you don't want to do anything," he says. 

Strickland's symptoms are worse at times, but basically last year round.  That's one way to tell if you're suffering with allergies.  Allergist Dr. Mike Critchlow says, "The classic symptoms of allergies are sneezing, itching of the nose, itching in the eyes."

There are prescription drugs your doctor can prescribe, or there's a good selection of over the counter medicines you can take. Dr. Critchlow says another thing you can do is take a shower or wash off after you're outside to help reduce your symptoms.  Using the air conditioner in your car can also help.  They're all things you can do to help make you feel a little better, but the bad news is for some allergy sufferers, tree pollen season may be just the beginning. "The spring season, or tree season, overlaps a great deal with grass season," Dr. Critchlow says. "Depending on what your allergies are, you can go to frost and always be exposed to something out there."

The best time for allergies to calm down is in the dogs days of summer, right before ragweed season.