Doctors: Allergy season expected to get worse

Many people hope Friday’s severe weather will provide some relief with rain washing away some of the pollen, but experts state that’s not necessarily the case. / Source: WWBT
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VIRGINIA (WWBT) — If you thought your allergies were bad now, doctors are urging you to prepare yourself for what’s to come.

Many people are hoping Friday’s severe weather will provide some allergy relief with rain washing away some of the pollen, but experts state that’s not necessarily the case.

“Sometimes it can make things worse because thunderstorms can trigger asthma, stir up a lot of mold and pollen,” Dr. William Hark, M.D., with Richmond Allergy & Asthma Specialists, said. “We’ll have a brief rest, but then it’s going to be out of control again next week.”

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Most of that pollen is coming from trees like oak, maple and alder.

“The smaller pollen in the air is what really gets you,” Hark added.

Graphs from Pollen.com show small relief in the future, but soon enough, people will be walking through clouds of thick pollen.

“Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like we’re seeing that much improvement yet because we’ve been standing out here a couple of minutes and we’re already covered in pollen,” NBC12 meteorologist Megan Wise said.

It’s left doctors at Richmond Allergy swamped with patients pleading for relief.

“We’ve had people with runny noses, stuffy noses, sneezing, itchy, watery eyes and even just feeling bad,” Hark said.

Hark feels this allergy season is worse than in years past thanks to the huge amount of rainfall Virginia saw in 2018, and the solid cold temperatures throughout the winter leading up to blooming time.

“Sometimes we'll have a time where it's warm for a while early on, things start to bloom, then you get a freeze and it kills everything,” Hark said. “This year it was all bottled up and it's just gotten out of control."

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However, there are ways to curb those allergy symptoms besides the use of medication.

“Keep your windows closed and air conditioning on,” Hark said. “If you’ve been outside a whole lot, take a bath or shower before you go to bed.”

It’s also mowing season, and grass allergies are a real thing that will appear in time.

“It’s not bad now, but when you’re out pushing the mower it’s going to blow up in your face and going to make it worse,” Wise said. “So maybe wear a mask if you’re really sensitive to that. Just be aware that we’ve got several more weeks to contend with, at least.”

Currently, Virginia is one of more than 10 states dealing with high allergy levels and pollen counts, according to Pollen.com.

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