Spring is finally here, and so are those spring allergies, but what does this year's severe winter mean for the upcoming allergy season? NY1's Jill Urban filed the following report.
Do you seem to have that cold that just won't go away? Or are you starting to notice those itchy eyes and that runny nose? Well, even though it doesn't feel like yet, it's technically spring, and that means it's allergy season.
"If the past is any indication for how this year is going to go, the season is going to begin earlier and be even more severe than last year," says Dr. William Reisacher of NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center.
Yes, Reisacher says that the extreme cold this winter means that the trees have been lying dormant for quite some time. As soon as we get a series of warm days, the pollen count will explode. That, coupled with the melting snow, could mean a double whammy for allergy sufferers.
"This time of the year, what we are seeing is, the snow cover is starting to melt in surrounding areas, and what that does, that puts mold spores into the air," Reisacher says. "And many people who are sensitive to mold, and even not sensitive to mold, react when the levels of mold spores are high."
So what can we do? Obviously, over-the-counter drugs can ease symptoms, as can humidifiers and air purifiers. Also, he recommends changing your clothes when you get home, and be aware that pets can bring pollen and mold spores into your home, so try to give them a good cleaning.
For major allergy suffers, desensitization is key, and most people see this in the form of shots or oral drops. Now, a new option is available that could change the way allergy sufferers are treated.
"So now, we have a new exciting way of treating allergies without having to go for allergy shots. We have allergy immunotherapy toothpaste that's able to deliver the same extracts by simply brushing your teeth the way you normally would," Reisacher says.
This new therapy is now available by prescription. Doctors can customize the toothpaste to individualize allergy desensitization. All patients need to do is brush daily.
So while the weather has been so unpredictable, the one thing we can predict is an allergy season that is nothing to sneeze at.