With the extra rain recently, trees and flowers are stronger and healthier than in the past few years. And allergy season is already gearing up to be pretty rough.
According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, asthma and allergic diseases, such as allergic rhinitis (hay fever), food allergy, and atopic dermatitis (eczema), are common for all age groups in the United States. Allergies are the sixth leading cause of chronic illness in the U.S. with more than 50 million Americans suffering from allergies each year. While asthma impacts fewer Americans, it still affects more than 17 million adults and more than 7 million children each year.
“Each year, for the past 10 years, we’ve seen an earlier start to the spring allergy season. During the past several weeks, people are beginning to feel the effects,” said ENT and Allergist Michael Bublik, M.D. Many doctors, including Dr. Bublik, are beginning to see an increase in patients with symptoms from tree pollen allergies and early blooming grasses. And while it is still too early to determine how bad the coming allergy season will be, Dr. Bublik said a few days of warm temperatures after the rain could “increase asthma and allergic reactions.”
The important thing is to start treating tree and grass pollen allergies before the season gets really bad. For trees, that is usually sometime in April for the Glendale, La Crescenta and La Cañada areas, with grasses hitting their peak in May and early June.
“This is really the time of year – right now – when you want to get ahead of it,” said Dr. Bublik. “It is much easier to prep for allergy season before the pollen is released in the air, which can cause the itching, sneezing and breathing difficulties. Once that occurs, it is much harder to reign it back in.”
Early treatment can involve a number of over the counter medications, but it’s a good idea to consult with an allergist who can test patients for specific allergies and offer appropriate options. For patients who are managing asthma or certain respiratory conditions, talking with your doctor prior to allergy season, may offer some preventive tips to diminish flare-ups.