Allergy season has arrived

Seven's On Call with Dr. Jay Adlersberg
April 23, 2008 3:17:11 PM PDT
The sun is out and the flowers are blooming. And while it's beautiful, it's also causing some problems for allergy sufferers.

Seven's On Call with Dr. Jay Adlersberg.

Springtime flowers need bees to pollinate... Pollinate? Sounds like pollen, a six-letter dirty word for thousands of New Yorkers who suffer with pollen allergies. Though many of them are aware of simple tips to get them through the spring, here are some others.

For those of you too busy with the Pope's visit or Hillary and Obama, spring's here! Flowers in bloom, trees in bud and Kleenex tissue stocks higher. Yes, for people like Jennifer Feldman, no calendar is needed to announce the time of year.

"You notice when the environment changes my eyes are itchy, I sneeze, I cough and I feel tired," springtime allergy patient Jennifer Feldman said. "You feel your body has a different feeling to it."

A feeling perhaps related to pollen blown into the air from flowering trees.

Right now were in the middle of tree pollen time, with grass pollen coming up, there'll be pollen in the air until the beginning of summer.

This season will be no better than those in the past.

"When we see a few warm days in a row, we see the pollen rates elevating in a faster rate than in years gone by," Dr. William Reisacher at NY Presbyterian Weill Cornell said. "That combined with wind spells very high pollen levels for patients."

Remedies are as near as your drug store. For many sufferers, over-the-counter antihistamines like Benadryl or containing Benadryl work fine.

This one, clan nose spray to stop sneezing and watering, and cortisone nasal sprays work if you need something stronger. There are eye drops for those itchy eyes. Jennifer also uses allergy shots, which her doctor recommended.

But sometimes, simply avoiding pollen is the best advice.

"At home I have pillow covers, HEPA filters, all sort of things that are supposed to help allergy sufferers," Jennifer Feldman said.

Avoiding pollen also means staying indoors on windy days, or staying in air conditioned spaces, because air conditioning filters also rid the air of pollen. Rugs and drapes can be pollen collectors, so some redecorating may make the season more tolerable.