Mild winter may mean miserable, early allergy season

Allergies and the weather

CARBONDALE, IL (KFVS) - Now that the polar vortex and early spring weather has passed, trees are budding and the pollen count is higher than normal which means it’s the beginning of an early allergy season.

According to Dr. Jeff Lehman, an allergist and immunologist with SIH Group in Carbondale, people are starting to see allergy symptoms because of the changes in climate.

“It’s been worse the last three years because the winter has been so mild. It usually starts mid March, but the last three years, mid February tree pollen hits,” Lehman said.

Justin Sutherland of Goreville, Ill. said it’s a “double whammy” with the dust and dander on the inside of his home along with the pollen on the outside. He said that he is feeling the effects of the allergy season as well.

“So between the mold and the dust and you know whatever pollen left in the air and with this weather back and forth, it’s pretty bad,” Sutherland said.

On Super Bowl Sunday, there were temperatures in the high 60s.

“Since it warmed up over the weekend you may start to see more season allergy symptoms, you know, typical sneezing, runny nose, nasal congestion, itchy watery eyes," Lehman said.

Dr. Lehman also said to be careful because it’s also that time of year where you can get upper respiratory infections caused by viruses, so there could be an overlap in symptoms.

However, with infections, he said they are short lived and you will have a fever along with the other symptoms.

“Like I said, I just try to take my medicines, it’s not much you can do, you can’t walk around with a gas mask," said Sutherland.

Dr. Lehman said there are a few things you can do on the daily basis.

“One of the best things you can do is keep your window shut because pollen will get through screens," Lehman said. "You want to change your clothes before you get in to bed, preferably if you could shower and get the pollen out of your hair. Another very useful thing are the sinus rinses.”

For those with persistent seasonal allergies, Lehman also suggested a nasal steroid spray or even over-the-counter medications like an Allergra or Zyrtec, daily.

To check out the daily pollen and mold report in your area, click here.

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