Dr. Sally Joo Bailey with Allergy Associates of Northern Virginia at Virginia Hospital Center says tree pollen is the big troublemaker that’s keeping her office busy right now.
“Particularly we’re seeing oak and maple and elm and birch, and even a little bit of pine,” she said.
If tree pollen is bothering you, Bailey recommends keeping your home’s doors and windows shut.
“In the car as well. I tell patients to turn their air on recycle and keep those windows closed,” said Bailey.
Keep in mind there’s a good chance your car is coated with pollen.
“After you open that door handle and you get in the car, try to avoid touching your face with your hand. Otherwise, if you touch your hand to your eyes, you may develop an itchy, red, watery, swollen eye,” Bailey said.
She also suggests showering before going to bed to wash away any pollen, and changing into clean clothes.
“The last thing you want to do is jump into bed not having showered and washed your hair because you’ll deposit all of that right onto your bed and get exposed to it all night long,” Bailey said.
Some people who have moved to the region from other areas are experiencing seasonal allergies for the first time. Bailey said the symptoms usually don’t kick in for new residents until they’ve lived around here about two to three years.
“That’s about how long it takes for you to develop our allergies,” she said. “People seem to be taken back by this and they’ll tell me that they had no idea our allergies were like this, and when they were suffering with cold-like symptoms for a while their co-worker told them: ‘Hey, this is allergy season. You’re probably experiencing allergies. Go see an allergist.'”
Bailey wants to spread the word to newcomers in our area.
“I feel like, especially with Amazon coming in, they should have a ‘Welcome to DC’ packet and explain our allergy situation here,” she said.
WTOP’s Zeke Hartner contributed to this report.
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