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South Ga. doctor discuss springtime allergies, pollen

Published: Apr. 1, 2022 at 2:54 PM EDT
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - It’s officially springtime which means pollen and with pollen comes allergies and asthma.

On Thursday, WALB’s Jim Wallace spoke with Dr. Erin Cannington with the Allergy and Asthma Clinics Of Georgia.

“What is the outlook so far this year for folks with allergies and asthma. Are you seeing a lot of patients?” asked Wallace.

“We are, we are. We’ve had a rough spring so far. And I think the last two days here in Georgia have had the highest counts of the tree pollen that we’ve seen so far. We’ve been in the thick of the pollen for several weeks now. But we are, we are seeing a lot of folks coming in with an increase in their allergy symptoms,” said Cannington. “We are seeing folks who are having some more asthma trouble because of their allergies. Sometimes these allergic symptoms will lead to a sinus infection or a respiratory infection. So people are kind of feeling the pollen this year.”

“I know a lot of people are. Is today’s rain going to help any?”

“The rain does. It does help wash it away. We do sometimes worry when it’s a strong rainstorm or a strong thunderstorm because actually down at the science level, the pollen, the rain. If it’s coming down pretty hard, the pollen can actually burst and explode. And unfortunately, that kind of puts it back in the air for a little bit. More than it was before the storm. But if it’s just a gentle rain, that’s usually just washing the pollen away. That does give us some relief for a day or two, which is nice,” said Cannington.

“Of course, we are coming into, spring is here. So is it going to get better or worse for these folks?” asked Wallace.

“I think we’ll probably start to see an improvement hopefully in the few weeks to come. I feel like we are kind of in the thick of it right now. And we may have another couple of weeks of this. But then we should start kind of seeing a little bit of a reprieve before we head into grass season, which is usually the summer months.”

“Not a whole lot of relief there. What are you telling your patients?”

“Sure. We are asking our patients who have allergies and allergic rhinitis symptoms to stay on their daily medications. Whether that’s an antihistamine or a nasal spray. There are several nose sprays we use. Some are over the counter, some are prescription. We’re asking them to use those daily during these times. Daily use helps prevent the symptoms and keeps it from exasperating as much. For our asthma patients, we want them to be on their preventative asthma inhalers. Their preventative asthma pills. And always have their rescue medicine ready,” Cannington answered.

“You say you are already seeing allergy infections?” Wallace asked.

“We are. We know that people who have allergies, who get a lot of runny nose and mucus, it kind of is a set up for a sinus infection down the road. And so after a few weeks of having allergy symptoms, those folks will come in and need an antibiotic to help themselves get over the infections.”

“Just part of the joy of living in South Georgia, I guess,” said Wallace.

“You got that right,” Cannington answered.

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