Casey Kelly

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April 30, 2014
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There's something in the air: Everything you need to know about allergies

As April showers give way to May flowers, pollen and other allergens can be a nuisance that last through the summer months.

When residents come in contact with an allergen such as pollen, mold or pet hair, they can experience itchiness, a runny nose, sneezing or the inflammation of breathing airways, said Scott Pace, an allergist and internist with University of Colorado Health’s Greeley Medical Center.

Pace said allergy season begins with the pollination of juniper, cedar and elm trees between about mid-February to mid-April. This year’s allergy season got started around the beginning of March, he said. The pollination of hardwoods such as poplars, aspens and cottonwoods occurs near the third week in March and tends to drop off in May.

“Once the trees have leafed out, the pollen is gone,” Pace said.

Once the season has started, pollen can be nearly impossible to avoid, Pace said. While some recommend closing windows and not hanging laundry out to dry, Pace said pollen is so ubiquitous, these tips might not offer any relief.

“All of those are impractical,” Pace said. “Pollens are microscopic and blow for miles.”

Instead, Pace said over-the-counter medications are effective for many people who experience seasonal allergies. Antihistamines can take care of most allergy symptoms except for decongestion, however, Pace said he doesn’t prescribe his patients any antihistamines with pseudoephedrine because it can cause an unsafe increase in blood pressure in some people.

For decongestion, Pace said he recommends using a topical decongestant for three days at a time or a nasal steroid spray.

For symptoms that don’t get better with the use of over-the-counter medicines, Pace suggested people seek out a board-certified allergist.

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My Windsor Now Updated Apr 30, 2014 12:38PM Published May 3, 2014 12:31AM Copyright 2014 My Windsor Now. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.