Allergies Tested as Pollen Levels Rise
by Brian Kirk, Meteorologist/Reporter
August 21, 2013 6:34 PM
Allergy forecasts indicate that this weekend will be a struggle for those with allergies. Pollen concentrations are expected to rise to very high levels in South Dakota. Ragweed and Sagebrush are the main culprits that have noses itching and eyes watering, but the Elm and Maple trees are also to blame.
Many are running to the store to stock up, each person with their own time-tested brand. Terry Knight of Sioux Falls was purchasing his favorite allergy blocker, "I do take it pretty much every day, I usually take Zirtek-D, it seems to help a little bit better, keeps me awake.”
Allergists and immunologists are all too familiar with the pollen cycles, and say that things will get worse before they get better. Dr. Daniel Todd, from Midwest Eye, Nose & Throat, describes the pattern, "Things tend to digress I think into September and October, sometimes the falls bring more molds and things like that, but sometimes people can have systematic pollen allergies right up until the freeze.”
Many people find themselves reacting to things that had never affected them in the past. Todd described the common routine, "It's a frustrating reality for patients, they remember back last year had no problems, and this year I’m just terribly symptomatic and having trouble. Unfortunately they become sensitized and they've developed allergies.”
The biggest challenge to a lot of people with allergies is whether to take the oral medication or the nasal medication. Doctors say that nasal medication can be extremely helpful, but should only be used for short periods of time.
"Certainly the topical decongestants like Afrin nose spray can be very powerful and very effective in the short term, but if you keep using that for several days you may get a rebound congestion, and you get so where you can't breathe without it.” said Todd.
Specialists say that the dry and windy conditions have been ideal for the transport of pollen, and some rain would really help the comfort level.