North Central Washington Nearing Allergy Season Peak
If you feel seasonal allergies are getting worse by the year, you're not alone.
A report by the group Climate Central say warming temperatures and shifting seasonal patterns are linked to longer growing seasons. As a result, earlier spring and longer periods of freeze-free days give plants more time to flower and release allergy-inducing pollen.
In the Wenatchee Valley, Dr. Bradley Cromar with Confluence Health says allergy season can start as early as February.
"It's been a bad year for people, grasses kicking up in the last month," Dr. Cromar said. "Watery, itchy eyes, stuffy nose, runny nose, itching, sneezing, scratchy throat. Those are the main symptoms of pollen allergies for most people. Some people have asthma as well."
If you're feeling any of these symptoms but haven't been tested or treated, it's worth getting checked out by a specialist.
"There's great symptomatic relief now that you can buy without a prescription. I think if you're getting good relief from your symptoms, there's not necessarily need for testing." Dr. Cromar said. "I think the people that should be tested are people who have severe symptoms and are not getting relief, or they're choosing to have a different treatment other than no sprays and antihistamine tablets that they purchase without a prescription."
As far as relief from the elements, we live in a region that simply doesn't stop producing allergens until November.
"April, May and June, you have grass pollinating. And then as you move into the early summer and fall, you have the weeds and sagebrush to finish out the season," Dr. Cromar said. "It's more dependent on the plant's life cycle, and what plants are pollinating at a particular time."
According to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 26% of adults and 19% of children in the U-S suffer from seasonal allergies. That's consistent with what allergy specialists are seeing in the Wenatchee Valley.
"That's kind of the number I always keep in my head is about one out of four people develop inhalant allergies. About one out of 20 people develop food allergies, and about one out of 100 people develop venom allergies. So, a lot of people are affected with allergies, the most common being the pollens and animal dander." Dr Cromar said.
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