By Jay Behrke
It may be early spring in the Hudson Valley. But as my bloodshot eyes will attest, it feels more like late spring.
“Certainly, with the earlier onset of warm temperatures and the early arrival of spring, that’s why we are seeing allergy symptoms and hay fever symptoms noted by a lot of allergy sufferers earlier this year,” said Dr. Joon Park of ENT and Allergy Associates in Middletown. “The pollen counts have been detected in higher amounts. In striking comparison to last year, to 2015, where we had a very cold and snowy winter, we really didn’t see a lot of allergy symptoms until after April was started.”
Park, who soothes the allergy-ravaged daily, noted maples and elms are among the early pollen producers, and offered these suggestions for sufferers:
After returning home from conducting outside activity, be sure to wash your face and remove your clothing. When outside, glasses and a hat or cap can help ward off excessive amounts of pollen.
Allergies affect 40-60 million Americans, who can suffer from a palpable loss in the quality of their lives while becoming less productive at work.
Park cautioned that, though there are numerous over-the-counter remedies to choose from, be sure to discuss your symptoms with a doctor before self-medicating; and be extra wary of nasal sprays. “Just because a medicine is sold over-the-counter, doesn’t mean it’s safe,” he said. “It is important for the allergy sufferers get the proper treatment by discussing their symptoms with the allergists/immunologists who are specifically trained to deal with these kind of problems. They can accurately identify what their allergens are, which is the first step on the way to feeling better – to identify proper triggers for their allergies.”
Such information helps doctors like Park craft the proper combination of environmental avoidance strategies, medications, and/or allergy shots to provide “optimal relief for the patients.”