By Mary O’KEEFE
It seems like anywhere you go in the Crescenta Valley these days there is sneezing, coughing and lots of tissues. The unseasonably warm temperatures, Santa Ana winds and low humidity are a hazard not only for wild fires, but also for those who suffer from allergies, even if they have never had allergy problems in the past.
Dr. Michael Bublik, an ear, nose and throat specialist and facial plastic surgeon in Glendale, has seen an increase in allergy sufferers visiting his office.
“This is flu season, but I have been seeing [allergy problems] as well,” Bublik said. He added the combination of allergen sensitivity and viruses cause more nasal swelling and, although the cold or virus symptoms may subside, the allergies persist.
Dr. Esther Yoon, an M.D. with a family medicine practice in Glendale, has also seen an increase in allergy sufferers.
“[Allergies] are definitely related to the environmental allergens and pollen in the air,” Yoon said. “[Especially] with the recent [Colby] fire.”
It is sometimes difficult to tell the difference between allergies and a cold. Many will medicate with over-the-counter allergy medicines. Yoon said using a type of “neti pot” or saline irrigation is a good way to help relieve allergy symptoms.
Taking over-the-counter allergy drugs can help as well; however, Bublik advises to stay away from those with pseudoephedrine, unless doctor recommended.
If the symptoms persist, it is important to visit a doctor, especially if the patient is older.
“You should have a physical exam, making certain it is not polyps or strep throat just to rule [illnesses] out,” Bublik said. He advised that, if it is allergies, the patient should take an allergy test.
For seniors, allergies can be even more of an issue especially if they are already on other medications.
“Sometimes it is hard to tell the difference [between a cold and allergies],” Yoon said.
Bublik added that dehydration, which is common with colds and allergies, can be dangerous for seniors.
“Dehydration, especially if seniors are [dealing] with other medical problems, becomes serious pretty quickly,” Bublik said. “[In those cases seniors] need to seek medical attention.”