Why allergy season is hitting earlier and harder

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – If it seems as if allergy season struck with a vengeance earlier this year and you started suffering sooner than usual, you’re not alone. It did.

People started sniffling and sneezing in January. Pollen season has been longer and more intense. There are several reasons why.

“We had a really cold holiday season if you remember,” said Dr. Sunil Joshi, with Family Allergy and Asthma Consultants. “But that was pretty much it so, we are seeing people having allergy symptoms sooner than typical. And a lot of that is because we are not getting the freezing cold temperatures that typically have the trees and the flowers stop that pollen cycle.”

There are things allergy sufferers can do to minimize that suffering and exposure. Joshi suggests:

  • Keeping home & car windows closed
  • Showering at night before you go to bed to keep pollen off your hair & skin
  • Bathing your pets because they carry pollen around in their fur
  • Not hanging clothes outside to dry -- that’s just asking for trouble

You should also check with your allergist because medications can be helpful in managing your suffering.

“A lot of (the medications) are over the counter and they can be very helpful,” Joshi said. “I do want to caution people that these medications are much more helpful at preventing symptoms than they are at treating symptoms.

“The topical nasal steroids and the nasal antihistamines are very good,” Joshi said. “They are more effective if you’re using them before the season starts. If you wait until after you develop symptoms a lot of times it’s like spitting into the wind. They don’t help as much at that point.”

Joshi also suggests consulting with your doctor because there are immunotherapies available that can in some cases help make you, “for lack of a better term,” less allergic or even prove curative.

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