Drier weather is equaling more allergies - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Drier weather is equaling more allergies

June 23, 2006

Albany -- You can blame all of those sinus headaches and itchy eyes on the weather, too. A lack of rain, nearly 10 inches below average, is giving allergy and sinus sufferers fits across the region.

Some doctors say they're seeing a lot of first time sufferers.

We haven't had much rain come through the area within the past two months, even with Tropical Storm Alberto. And that means plant pollen and other allergens haven't been washed away.

It's been a real headache for lots of South Georgians.

Itchy eyes and sinus pressure are familiar for Shaveeca Snead. She visited her eye doctor recently because of itchy eyes and found out her allergies were acting up.

"My eyes would like itch and water really bad and I couldn't figure out why. Never thought the reason he gave me would be the reason my eyers were giving me the trouble that they were," said allergy sufferer Shavecca Snead.

Allergens were getting on Snead's eyelashes, into her eyes. For her, this year's allergy season is lasting all too long.

Many plant pollens are still affecting allergy sufferers although we're not in the height of allergy season. Experts say that it's partly because the weather's been so dry.

The lack of rain isn't only drying up the ground, it's drying up people's sinuses. Physician's Assistant Mike Fowler has been recently seeing several patients a day that have allergy and sinus problems.

"Grass pollens have been up a lot longer, weed pollens are up, tree pollens are up, and we've not have enough rain to keep the pollens washed down, so there's enough irritants out there to cause people to have these infections," said Mike Fowler.

For allergy sufferer Shavecca Snead, she feels the difference in the air when it doesn't rain.

"Right now to me the air feels heavy. It feels heavy, I get the heaviness in my chest, but when it rains it seems to settle the air down or something, where I breathe clearer," said Snead.

The lack of rain may be the reason several plants are dead and dried, but also the reason some allergies are in full bloom.

Symptoms for someone who may have a sinus infection include nasal congestion, pain and pressure in the sinuses, a headache, toothache, or even bad breath. Your allergist or Ear, Nose and Throat doctor can help find relief for sufferers.

Treatments for allergies include antibiotics, decongestants, topical steroids or nasal sprays. The American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology says almost 15-percent of the US population suffers from sinusitus.

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