If you think your seasonal allergy symptoms are starting earlier and lasting longer, you’re not alone in your itchy, sneezy misery.
“The last five years, we’ve had a trend toward a lot worse allergy seasons,” Dr. Bela Faltay, chief of allergy and immunology at Akron General Medical Center, said during a recent interview.
Ragweed — the notorious villain for hay fever sufferers — already is out in full force earlier than usual this season, as has been the case for the past several years.
“You used to be able to set your calendar on Aug. 15, you’d see ragweed,” Faltay said. “Now it’s more like Aug. 7. With the warmer climate, we’re seeing a trend where the ragweed will last longer.”
In recent years, hay fever season has been extended an average of three weeks longer than previous seasons, and “the overall allergen levels are much higher,” Faltay said.
Complicating matters, he said, is the fact that the prime season for several different common allergens — things such as grasses, tree pollens and mold — has blurred. As a result, some allergy sufferers don’t get a break.
People who tend to suffer seasonal allergies each year can minimize their symptoms by starting an antihistamine a couple of weeks before the season begins, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.
“If you know every ragweed season is bad for you, just start it ahead of time,” Faltay said.
Check weather websites for pollen counts and forecasts, Faltay suggested. If counts are expected to be high, minimize outdoor times.
Faltay also encourages seasonal allergy sufferers to keep windows closed in cars and homes and change clothes and shower after spending time outdoors.
Over-the-counter antihistamine drops are available to help with itchy eyes, Faltay said.
People who have trouble predicting when their allergies will flare and those with unrelenting symptoms can see a specialist for testing to determine their specific triggers, he said.
Summa plans Sapphire Ball
Kool & the Gang will be the featured performer at Summa Foundation’s 12th Sapphire Ball beginning at 6 p.m. Sept. 21 at the John S. Knight Center, 77 E. Mill St., Akron.
Proceeds of the event will benefit the Summa Center for Health Equity, which opened in the Village at New Seasons in West Akron in 2012 to provide primary-care services and health education to the community.
Tickets start at $250.
Cheryl Powell can be reached at 330-996-3902 or email@example.com. Follow Powell on Twitter at twitter.com/abjcherylpowell.