Early start to allergy season still having lingering effects on sufferers
Just because allergy sufferers were exposed to allergens earlier in the year than they are used to does not mean that they will now be immune to symptoms in the coming months. In fact, a phenomenon known as "nasal priming" could afflict many Americans as the calendar turns to May.
Around this time of year, the conclusion of tree pollen season collides with the start of grass pollen season, causing many allergy sufferers to experience their worst symptoms of the year. This year, symptoms may be even more difficult to bear, given the early start to allergy season, brought on by a mild winter.
"Whereas earlier in the season it would take a high level of exposure to produce symptoms, after priming, symptoms are provoked by lower levels," the Cleveland Clinic's David Lang told ABC News. "More people are coming in to see us claiming a higher allergy response than in previous years. I would suspect that priming is to blame."
Fortunately for allergy sufferers across the country and particularly on the East Coast, wet weather not seen in months has recently swept through the region and helped control pollen counts somewhat. Of course, should these heavy rains continue, mold spores could start to develop in oversaturated areas, which could prove just as detrimental to those who are sensitive to these irritants.
On days when the pollen counts are the highest, homeowners should consider closing up their homes and turning on an air conditioning, if they have one available. While this may increase their energy bills, it could be well worth it if they can avoid exposure to outside allergens. If an air conditioner is not available, a HEPA air purifier coupled with a tabletop fan could be enough to circulate clean air and keep temperatures comfortable even as the weather gets warmer.