CLEVELAND — Spring is around the corner, but don't be surprised if something shows up sooner than expected.
"Spring allergies are popping up, and that's when we start to get all of those symptoms that make everyone so miserable," Dr. Sandra Hong, chair of the Cleveland Clinic Allergy Department, says. "You know, all of the itching, the sneezing, the drippy nose, the drippy eyes, and sometimes people can start having coughing and wheezing and shortness of breath at this time of the year, too."
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Hong and other allergists agree: Global warming and climate change is making allergy season longer.
"We do think that pollen and the weather are going to be a bigger deal as time goes on," she told 3News. "Global warming will actually cause longer pollen seasons and actually maybe even more pollen, so people with allergies may end up getting more symptoms for longer."
If you typically take an allergy pill, now is the time to start. If you typically get itchy eyes, nose, and throat and suffer sneezing, an antihistamine is the way to go. But if it's nasal congestion, consider a spray.
"We typically consider the nasal steroids the No. 1 treatment for allergies," Hong added.
However, if the OTC treatments aren't working, then it's time to see an allergist. You may consider shots or sublingual immunotherapy.
"Allergy shots can be extremely effective for people," Hong said. "Eighty percent of people will say, 'Gosh, I am so glad I did this, because my life is so much different right now.'
"Sublingual immunotherapy are tiny little kind of pills or wafers that we put under our tongue during certain times of the year for grass, ragweed or dust mite allergies. They can be extremely successful and you could do those at home."
Meanwhile, Hong says to get in the habit of frequent vacuuming, and when the pollen starts flying, keep the windows closed. Take a shower before bed to get the pollen off of your skin and out of your hair, and wash your bedding weekly. Also, don't hang your clothes outside to dry.