Rain is a blessing and a curse for allergy sufferers - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Rain is a blessing and a curse for allergy sufferers

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June 13, 2005

Albany - Many allergy sufferers literally breathe a sigh of relief when rain washes away aggravating pollen, but the daily rain we've seen in the last few weeks also causes big allergy problems with other people. People with mold and dust mite allergies are especially feeling the pain of the rain.

Anther McKenzie allergies are worse than they've been in weeks. "A lot of sneezing, itchy eyes, running nose, all that sort of thing." Add to that congestion and coughing, and you've got a miserable start to the summer.

Allergist Dr. Larry Smith says rain many be to blame for some of those symptoms. "There are some bad things that can happen if it rain a lot," said Dr. Smith. "Mold and mildew thrive in the wet, humid climate. We have a lot more mold exposure during the rainy season than other times of the year. This can cause problems with asthma, hay fever, and sinus trouble."

Humid climates can also cause dust mites to multiply in your home and workplace. Dust mite and mold spores cause upper respiratory infections, which are bringing more patients than normal to Dr. Smith office this week.

He says for most people, relief is just a spray away. "Use saltwater nose spray. You can buy some already made or make it yourself. By doing that, you just wash the stuff out of your nose and respiratory tree. That seems to help out."

That might not be enough for patients like Anther McKenzie, who's allergies are more severe. "I'm back here now to probably get back on the shots and get some more medication, especially to help the congestion that I've been having," said McKenzie.

So rain is a double edge sword for allergy sufferer, washing out irritating pollen but bringing in equally bothersome mold that can leave you hoping for brighter days.

Dr. Smith says a de-humidifier can help prevent mold and dust mite in your home. If your symptoms persist for more than a week or two and over-the--counter medicines aren't helping, you should see an allergist.

posted at 4:05PM by kathryn.murchison@walb.com