The southeastern U.S. is a challenging place for those who suffer from seasonal allergies, and the spring allergy season is in full swing here, according to doctors familiar with the area.
“When the tree season comes on, patients go from feeling normal to just being miserable,” said Dr. Don McNeil, who specializes in allergy and immunology.
The spring allergy season is short—just six to eight weeks—but it can make allergy sufferers highly uncomfortable.
McNeil says this is heightened by the fact that many people with pollen allergies also have mold allergies.
The moist, warm weather that marks spring encourages mold growth, which means mold spores are on the rise at the same time as tree pollen.
The tree pollen that causes related spring allergies can only arise from trees that pollinate: deciduous trees. These are the oaks, hickories, sycamores, cottonwoods, beeches and other hardwoods that are prevalent in the Florida area.
Between the pollen, mold and ever-present dust mites found here, spring allergies in the southeastern U.S. are among the worst. But McNeil said moving to another region rarely brings longterm relief.
“If you are prone to having allergies, you may move to a new area and be free of your symptoms initially,” he said. “After a year or two, you become sensitized to the allergens in the new place.”
Pollen rises in the early morning, so McNeil advises patients to keep their windows closed overnight.
“Some patients benefit from bathing before bed to remove any pollen that may have attached to their skin or hair during the day,” McNeil said.
McNeil says it is important for people suffering from allergies to find a local allergist who is board certified in allergy and immunology.
“Avoid people who are practicing allergy but don’t specialize in it,” said McNeil. Some practitioners profit from placing patients on a repeating regimen of allergy shots, he said.
While shots are often effective for safely building up a tolerance to allergens, patients should be evaluated regularly and moved to a maintenance program when the effective dose has been reached, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.
To treat your allergies, speak to some of the local organizations:
ENT and Voice Care of Atlanta
DeKalb Pediatric Associates
Walgreens in Tucker