CLEVELAND, Ohio --
Allergy season arrived earlier than usual this year.
Doctors are already seeing an influx of patients with severe symptoms a full two months ahead of schedule.
“Simply put, it’s like you fast forwarded to May. So typically, what you get in May and June, we are getting in here now,” said Dr. Akhil Chouksey, Director Allergy/Immunology MetroHealth Medical Center.
The early pollen explosion is linked to the warm weather.
Flowers are already blooming, and trees are budding across northeast Ohio.
In addition to that, the mild winter prevented many bugs and allergens from dying off.
Dr. Chouksey said, “So this is a pretty bad time. Even I have a problem now, and the last two weeks the clinic’s been full with those patients--it been pretty harsh.”
Many allergy sufferers also experienced symptoms like itchy watery eyes, headache, runny nose, drainage and cough throughout the winter months because of the wild temperature swings.
Some days it was below freezing, but the next day the mercury would rise into the 40s.
“Whenever you have a flip flop in the weather, there is always an extra load on the AC unit of the body which is your nose,” said Dr. Chouksey. “So, people who already have baseline allergies, they have irritation of the mucus or lining of the nose.”
Additionally, patients are experiencing severe bronchitis and asthma.
Dr. Chouksey recommends treating allergy symptoms year round with a good allergy medication and prescription steroid nasal spray.
He does not recommend strong decongestants, which can cause a rebound effect leading to more severe swelling of the sinus cavity.
He also suggests inhaling simple steam each day.
He said, “Breathe steam, pure steam with no additives, just simple water. Steam is lighter; it will go through the nose and drain out of your sinus area, and you will have that drainage come out much easier.”