Worst of allergy season yet to come — here’s how to protect yourself

If you thought your allergies were bad now, knuckle down — and maybe buy some tissues, because one Maryland allergist says the worst is yet to come.

“We are already seeing a big uptick and calls to the office for patients who are suffering … but I have to be the bearer of bad news and tell you that this is not the worst of the season yet,” Dr. Rachel Schreiber, who has a practice in Rockville, Maryland, told WTOP.

She said the worst of the season typically comes toward the end of April. That’s when pollen from oaks, birches and sycamores come out.

But those with allergies can prepare before the weather warms up, as it’s slated to do later this week.

“I know we’ve all been cooped up for a year now, but I just want everyone to keep the windows to the house closed,” Schreiber said. “If you are a pollen sufferer, when you open your windows, that pollen can really come flying into your house.”

She added that the masks we’ve been wearing to help stop the spread of coronavirus can aid in creating a barrier against pollen, but take it off when you get inside your home.

“Wear your sunglasses, wear a baseball cap when you’re outside, and then take all that stuff off when you come inside,” Schreiber said.

The other thing to think about is medication, be it antihistamines, Claritin, Zyrtec, Allegra or nasal sprays such as Flonase, all of which are over the counter.

“Seek help from your physician about deciding what exactly to take. Because you can get really into a polypharmacy kind of situation — lots of medications — and you want to make sure that there aren’t different medication interactions,” Schreiber said.

She noted that it’s always better to stay ahead of allergic reactions.

“Allergies in general can snowball. You’re always better starting the meds earlier so that when that reaction starts, you have something on board to protect you,” Schreiber said.

“We always say it’s better to stay ahead of the season. So if you are not on your meds yet, I encourage you to get on something to help protect you for the rest of the season.”

Will Vitka

William Vitka is a Digital Editor and reporter for WTOP.com. He's been in the news industry for over a decade. Before joining WTOP, he worked for CBS News, Stuff Magazine, The New York Post and wrote a variety of books—about a dozen of them, with more to come.

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