Allergy sufferers be warned: runny noses just around the corner
Winter is wheezing to a close, but allergy sufferers will soon sneeze into spring.
The buds and blooms that usually greet Easter weekend also normally mark the beginning of allergy season, but Dunmore allergist Jakub Lekach, M.D., said the "mini ice-age" Northeast Pennsylvania is experiencing could hold off pollen-related miseries until middle or late April.
"Depends on the guy upstairs," he said. "It may get very warm."
As spring weather ushers in warm temperatures and sun, the region's foliage will begin to bloom, releasing a heavy dose of pollen into the air. Then comes the sneezing, coughing, runny noses, clogged sinuses, blocked ears and itchy eyes, said Dr. David I. Barras, M.D., founder of Valley ENT Sinus and Allergy clinic in Forty Fort.
Though other allergies are prevalent throughout the year - perennial allergies to dust mites, pet dander, mold and so on - the addition of pollen can inflict another punch on the immune system, making many people go over the "allergy load" threshold and feel discomfort, Dr. Barras said.
"One can have allergies all year 'round," he said. "Most people with allergies are allergic to more than one type of allergen."
While pollen-based allergies may be delayed by the cold weather, April, May, and June are the prime months for tree pollination in the region, Dr. Lekach said. Grass pollination, which usually begins in May and hits its peak in June, continues through the summer season, which is rounded out by ragweed, which revs up around August.
Dr. Lekach joked that the best cure this time of year for seasonal allergy suffers is to live in the Arctic in an igloo or become an astronaut.
"They never listen to me," he said.
About 80 percent of allergy suffers can find relief by taking over-the-counter and prescription medications, as well as practicing some common sense, like keeping the doors and windows of their homes closed, Dr. Barras said.
Others may need testing and hands-on treatment by a physician to overcome or at least alleviate the symptoms, he said.
"Some are allergic to everything, like me," Dr. Lekach said.
Contact the writer: smcconnell@ timesshamrock.com