Already bad allergy season expected to worsen

(WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Doctors say the rough season allergy sufferers have already gone through is likely to get worse, but there are lots of ways to fight allergies.

In many cases, they say, what’s often mistaken for a common cold that won’t go away is, in fact, allergies.

“Runny nose, sneezing, kind of feel like you have a cold all the time,” said Greg Binford, who deals with allergies almost every day.

He’s been taking medication, but says some days it works, other days it doesn’t.

“Some days are just miserable,” Binford said.

24-Hour News 8 caught up with him at the allergist, where doctors administered a skin test to see what exactly he’s allergic to.

“We have lots of things to offer patients to get matters under control,” said Dr. Scott Phillips with the Center for Ear, Nose, Throat and Allergy. “And so all they have to do is ask because there’s no reason that they have to suffer.”

Dr. Phillips said the test is simple, a skin prick with different allergens to see what reacts and what doesn’t. If there is a reaction, allergy shots or drops should make the symptoms manageable.

But Dr. Phillips said the symptoms are worse this year.

“We have had such a wet winter,” he said. “That really speaks well to the health of our trees, but at the same time it also means we’re going to have more pollens, and so, for those allergy sufferers that are allergic to pollens, it’s going to be a bad spring.”

He said, while leaves on the trees aren’t noticeable yet, pollen is already there, and it travels up to four miles when carried by the wind.

Dr. Phillips said it’ll only get worse in the coming weeks.

“In the springtime it’s tree pollens, in the summertime it’s grass pollens and in the fall it’s weeds,” he said.

And all year around, it’s what’s in a house that ails people: dust mites, mold and pet dander.

In the Midwest allergies are worse than nationwide because of the Ohio River Basin, and a cold is often blamed because the symptoms are the same: itchy, watery eyes, facial pressure, headaches, congestion or a cough.

“If you don’t get it under control, I find, in the morning, it just lasts all day,” Binford said.

Dr. Phillips said those who suffer from allergies don’t have to see an allergist right away. Over-the-counter products like Allegra, Zyrtec and Benadryl do help a lot of times — even the nasal spray Nasacort is now over-the-counter. If those don’t work, he said, that’s when patients need to see an allergist.

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