WASHINGTON — As if allergy season isn’t already bad enough, it could get even sneezier and itchier around the D.C. area.
“This is not the worst year — yet,” said Dr. Rachel Schreiber, an allergist and immunologist in Rockville. “This is the thick of it. I, unfortunately, think that it has not peaked yet.”
Tree pollen counts are in the high range, she said, “but they will go into the very high range.”
(Indeed: No relief is in sight, according to Storm Team4 Meteorologist Lauryn Ricketts.)
What to really beware of are rainy days followed by a warm day.
“The rain will help the trees grow, of course, and as the trees grow, they bloom,” she said. “So I think if we get a nice rainy couple of days here, and then you have a warm day after that, the pollens will just go crazy.”
If you think the pollens are already crazier than they were in years past, that might not necessarily be the case. Schreiber said allergy symptoms can worsen if you’ve become sensitized to the area’s potential allergens.
“After living here for a couple of years, in fact, your symptoms do worsen,” she said.
And when they do, it’s important to visit the doctor. Toughing it out on your own and self-medicating isn’t a great idea because over-the-counter allergy medications can carry risks. Besides, allergies “can make you feel sick for a long period of time,” and they can contribute to asthma.
“If you’re missing school, if you’re missing work, you need to see your doctor,” Schreiber said.
Whether the doctor prescribes an allergy shot depends on how well other medications are working.
Shots, she said, “are indicated for people who either can’t take meds, don’t want to take medication or the medication doesn’t work.
“Allergy shots are really the way to get to the root of the problem with allergies. It’s a method of desensitization.”