By Dr. Terrence C. Tuominen, ENT Clinic of Memorial Medical Center
Even though it’s still summer, we are in the beginning of the fall allergy season. The warm weather and large amounts of rain we have received have been great for producing record amounts of weed growth. Ragweed in particular has been growing like crazy. All of the weeds, but especially ragweed, produce a tremendous amount of pollen that gets airborne travelling miles throughout the region spreading allergy misery. In addition, allergy season for our region will peak after Labor Day, meaning things will get worse before they get better. Unfortunately, our first weed-killing frost could be months away. In addition, molds are contributors to the fall allergy season. Outdoor molds grow on dead and decaying vegetation and their growth is greatest when it is warm and humid outside, which describes our summer this year.
Some simple things people can do to limit the severe fall allergy symptoms would be to limit time outside and plan outside activities when pollen levels are low. There are many websites available that list pollen counts available including POLLEN.COM, and WEATHER.COM. Pollen levels are usually lower after rain and on non-windy days.
Keeping pollen out of the house and decreasing indoor allergy symptoms can be accomplished by taking off your shoes at the door, keeping windows closed, using air-conditioning, using HEPA air filters indoors, washing pets, and washing your hair before going to sleep. If particularly sensitive, you may wish to change clothes after being outside.
A variety of very good allergy medicines are available including over-the-counter antihistamines, such as Claritin, Allegra, Zyrtec and over-the-counter nasal steroid sprays Rhinocort, Nasacort, and Flonase. These medicines, which have great safety profiles ideally should be started in the summer before your allergy symptoms begin and should be continued until the fall allergy season is over.
In addition, for the many allergy sufferers with symptoms unrelieved by over-the-counter medicines, allergists can complete allergy testing identifying the specific pollens and other allergens such as dust, pets, and molds that may be triggering your allergy symptoms. Allergy immunotherapy or shots can train the body to become tolerant of your allergy triggers often allowing people to live completely allergy symptom free lives.
The ENT Clinic of Memorial Medical Center is now accepting patients who are interested in learning more about this type of treatment. To learn more or schedule an appointment, please call my office at 715-685-6010. Our staff looks forward to working with you to help you become allergy free.
Terrence C. Tuominen, M.D. is a Board Certified Otolaryngologist. He began practicing at MMC this past summer and has over 15-years of full-spectrum ENT experience for patients of all ages.Learn more about the services her provides, here.