Allergy season off to a fast start - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Allergy season off to a fast start

By Heather Sawaski

WAUSAU (WAOW) -- Spring is in the air, literally. With the warm weather comes allergens and pollen, and this year's allergy season is already off to a record setting start. Area health leaders say the earlier spring-like temperatures also brought out earlier itchy eyes and sneezes.

It's in the air, on the ground, and in the trees. This season, pollen is back in full force.

Allergist Mark Huftel says thanks to the weather, spring allergy season got underway about 2 weeks earlier than usual.

"I think we recorded probably the highest tree pollen count that I can recall in 19 year of being here in Wausau," Huftel said.

Record high pollen counts can mean different things for different people. Common symptoms include itchy watery eyes and congestion. Huftel says the best way to keep a clear head is avoidance. But he knows it's not practical to stay inside all season long. So it's a good idea to head to your local pharmacy.

"The first complaints will be itchy, watery eyes, sneezing, and a runny nose," explained Pharmacy Manager Nikki Tieman. "Those sorts of things we'd recommend just the plain antihistamines for. If it seems like their allergies are kind of backing them up and they're congested, then they can take a combination product with the decongestant added to it."

If you're prone to spring allergies, Tieman recommends taking the medications even before you feel symptoms. It's advice that could help you breath a little easier this spring. 

"Tree pollen season is going to come every year," Huftel said. "It's just a matter of it starting earlier some years. But if you get on your medication and take everyday throughout the season, that's going to be most effective."

Spring allergy season usually runs from April until early June. 

Huftel says allergies are uncommon for kids under the age of 2. But if you do think you're child may be suffering, a trip to an allergist is probably a good idea.

Also, he says kids of parents with allergies are 2 to 3 times more likely to develop them sometime during childhood.

Online Reporter: Heather Sawaski

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