Allergy sufferers sneeze on into fall

Dick Uliano,

WASHINGTON – From a summer’s breeze to falling leaves, allergy sufferers are sneezing on.

“It’s been a very tough year,” says Dr. Rachel Schreiber, allergist at Shady Grove Adventist Hospital.

“The No. 1 symptom for allergy is itching – itching in the eyes, nose, mouth. You can get sneezing, runny nose, stuffy nose,” Schreiber says.

July failed to bring the usual summer break from high grass pollen counts, and now an additional aggravating pollen is in the air.

“The main fall allergen is ragweed and we are seeing that right now,” Schreiber says.

The pollen from weeds is combining with grass pollen to produce a double whammy for allergy sufferers. Schreiber says it’s unusual to have high grass pollen this late in the year.

Will the trend continue into the fall?

“I hope it doesn’t, but I’m concerned that is going to continue,” says Schreiber.

Mold spores released after heavy rains and from decaying leaves will add to the miserable mix.

Additionally, allergy sufferers may have to wait until the first frost for relief from grass, weed and mold spores, says Shreiber.

Shreiber recommends consulting a doctor if allergies persist. Prescription medications and allergy shots also can help when over-the-counter options fall short.

Keeping windows closed and taking a shower before bedtime additionally can help.

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