Allergy season may be coming early

February 23, 2012 2:54:43 PM PST
The warm winter we've been having and the late flu season have another side to them. That is, the possibility of an early arrival of allergy season.

That means for allergy sufferers who've been enjoying our mild winter, there could be a price to pay.

Springtime allergy season typically arrives either early or late April in this part of the country. Sometimes even May. But, as we have all enjoyed, the temperatures have been higher than usual this winter, and that could signal an early beginning to those stuffed noses and itchy eyes.

What brings on those symptoms is all around us, ready to bloom and cause misery for many people.

"They might start getting allergy symptoms in March, which they're not used to, so people don't generally think about treating seasonal allergies this early in the year, but it could happen this year," Dr. Michael Stewart.

Stewart is the head of the Ear Nose and Throat Department at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center.

He says his best advice is to treat early.

"If you tend to have springtime allergies, treat them before you start to get symptoms. Once you start to get sneezing and itching and runny nose and itchy eyes and so on, that means the histamine has already been released. It has already stimulated inflammation and it's already down the pathway," he said.

So while buds on the trees are ready to bloom and bring us both beauty and misery, there are some things sufferers of seasonal allergies can do to get ready.

First, check your medications, replace them if you need to, and start at the very first sign of a budding spring. Also, you may want to make an appointment with your doctor earlier than you normally do.

One more thing - allergy prevalence is rising and a seasonal allergy reaction can begin at any time, even if you've never had it before. No telling yet, though, how bad this season will be.

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