Wet El Nino winter concerns allergy sufferers

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All the rain we've had this year has made for a colorful spring, but it's also the time of year allergy sufferers start worrying about what's ahead. (KGO-TV)

All the rain we've had this year has made for a colorful spring, but it's also the time of year allergy sufferers start worrying about what's ahead.

The plants and flowers may be in bloom, but springtime isn't always pretty for 12-year-old Hattie Fair - that's because of her allergies.

"The allergies aren't fun because there are lots of trees, lots of flowers, lots of plants I'm allergic to," she said.

RELATED: 7 On Your Side: Consumer Reports offers tips to allergy-proof homes

There was concern with our wet El Nino winter that many of the pollen producers that torture patients like Fair could go into overdrive.

While some parts of the state are reporting increased pollen counts, experts say the story here in the Bay Area is more of a split.

Pollen from grass and weeds has been minimal, but certain trees have been active for months.

"Cypress, cedar trees are by far the most important in the Bay Area," allergist Dr. Russel Leong said.

Leong treats Fair's allergies. He says sufferers can often avoid many of the pollen triggers with a few simple steps.

"No open windows in the house during allergy seasons, using the air conditioner with the recirculation button," he said.

Other experts say taking a shower after working in the yard or changing into fresh clothes can also help.

"One interesting phenomenon is when people early in the season get exposed to allergies, then they're kind of what we call primed so small amounts of allergies will cause more symptoms later in the season," Leong said.

Fair takes regular medication, which helps get her through the roughest months.

"What I do is I usually try to avoid it. Your entire head is stopped up and it's not fun. You can't breathe," she said.

Leong says some allergies can also be treated with desensitization regimens in the hopes of adjusting the body's reaction to it.
Related Topics:
healthallergiesel ninoweatherhealth carebay areaspring
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