First A Winter Vortex…Now A “Pollen Vortex?”

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    A man sneezing into tissues in bed

    If you’re like most people, you fought hard to survive this winter’s polar vortex.

    Unfortunately, it’s not over yet.

    According to HealthDay, allergy experts say that because the long and brutal winter kept trees dormant for longer than usual, tree pollen season will overlap with grass pollen and mold seasons this year, creating a “pollen vortex.”

    Translation: People who suffer from environmental allergies may be about to suffer more than usual.

    “The pollen vortex will be created by the pollens all coming in at the same time. The season will probably be shorter, but people with allergies will be more miserable,” said Dr. Joseph Leija, an allergist with Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, part of Loyola University Health System, in Chicago. “People who take preventive medications ahead of time will be OK, but people who wait until they have their symptoms will have more problems. If you wait until you have symptoms, it takes at least a few days before you start feeling relief.”

    Thankfully, experts noted that there may be some new relief options:  New oral allergy immunotherapy medication for grass and ragweed pollens was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration last week. These pills offer an alternative to allergy shots.

    While it’s too late to get protection for grass pollen this season, doctors say you can still start immunotherapy for ragweed.

    Other Ways To Control Allergies

    Medications is important. But so is controlling your environment:

    • Use your air conditioner instead of opening windows to keep pollen out of your home and car
    • Clean air conditioner filters
    • If possible, take a shower before bed to better clean off pollen from your hair and body
    • Bath pets regularly if they spend time outside

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