Pollen wages war on allergy sufferers

-A A +A

Dr. James Sussman offers tips on how to reduce the pollen indoors

By Carol A. Clark

Itchy eyes, runny noses and uncontrollable sneezing fill the town this time of year.

People experiencing these annoying symptoms are allergic to something that’s in the air at springtime. Tree pollen is the most common culprit. The allergy occurs when trees produce flowers and pollen, lasting for several weeks.

Grass in the spring through summer followed by ragweed and other weed pollens in the fall give sufferers fits for months.

“I lived in Los Alamos for four years before I began to come down with allergies,” said Geoff Rodgers, a candidate for county council. “It was after the Cerro Grande Fire. I began taking locally grown honey several weeks ahead of allergy season and that has helped reduce the affects.”

Dr. James Sussman is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Allergy/Immunology. During an interview this morning, he said his practice, Allergy Partners of New Mexico at 118 Central Ave., has seen a marked increase in patients seeking allergy relief in the last couple of weeks.

“The pollen counts are very high right now,” Sussman said. “This typically starts in February but with the cold weather, the air was scrubbed until recently.”

Sussman recommends exercising indoors during the allergy season,

especially on windy days.

“We also tell people to shed their outer layer of clothing before entering their bedrooms to avoid bringing pollen into the room,” he said. “It’s also a good idea to shower and shampoo at the evening to wash away pollen from the hair and body.”

Keeping outdoor pets outdoors also is a good idea, he said, as they can bring pollen inside the home as well.

Almost any tree is capable of inducing allergic reaction in people programmed that way. In the western states, many people find cottonwood, poplar and aspen trees are big problems.

In the local area, the Juniper tree is a problem. The Juniper is from the Juniperus family of about 70 species of evergreen trees and shrubs, many of which are called “cedars.” Other common names include mountain cedar, cedar juniper and juniper redberry. Juniperus is widely distributed throughout North America, although certain species are more allergenic than others. Because there are many types of juniper found in this area and the pollen grains are so similar, it is often hard for an individual to determine which species are allergenic to them. When weather conditions are supportive, pollen can travel many miles.

The Mulberry and Elm tree also cause allergies in many people.

Common medications used in the treatment of allergy and/or asthma symptoms are available either over-the-counter or by prescription.

With less severe allergies, symptoms can often be controlled by medications on an as-needed basis.

When more severe symptoms occur, medications, in conjunction with immunotherapy can be very useful. according to the Allergy Partners of NM Web site.

All medications require a discussion with your doctor about possible drug interactions (including herbal solutions), with other medical conditions and side effects.