Experts say more rain means more allergy cases

Staff writer

Whether sneezes come in a barrage of abrupt tiny noises or a bellowing “ACHOO,” the number of blessings in the county has likely gone up during this year’s round of seasonal allergies.

Blame it on the rain.

Alysha Haines, nurse practitioner at St. Luke Medical Clinic, is at ground zero.

“We always see more allergy-related cases this time of year but we have seen more than usual this year,” Haines said. “It’s the rain.”

This year’s wetter season has been tough on allergy sufferers.

“We’ve seen tons of people with runny noses, itchy eyes, scratchy throats, and lots of coughing,” she said. “Seasonal allergies are typically caused by mold spores and pollen. The rain has caused more things to bloom, and the pollen count is higher. Ragweed is the biggest offender in this area.”

Bud Druse, director of the county noxious weed department, said crews usually spray for 12 noxious weeds throughout the area. However, despite its nagging effect on allergy sufferers, ragweed is not considered a noxious weed.

“The weeds are all up and there is a lot of ragweed out there, definitely more than other years,” Druse said. “We don’t spray for it because it not considered invasive like Johnson grass, musk thistle, or lespedeza, but if there’s ragweed in a road ditch where we spray for noxious weeds it gets sprayed, too.”

He said brome grass also is putting out pollen, which affects some allergy sufferers.

Druse said his allergies are not as bad as his wife’s are, but he still experiences some symptoms.

“If it’s dry and I’m kicking up dust mowing, I really start sneezing my head off,” he said. “But Norma has it worse. She takes a pill every day. Her allergies really affect her eyes and nose. My son, Brad, gets it too, but he only takes pills as needed.”

Haines said pollen counts also are typically higher on windy days when gusts pick up pollen and put it in the air.

Allergy symptoms can cause more problems if not treated appropriately.

“The nose, ear canals, and throat are all connected,” Haines said. “If you stay congested long enough they can get inflamed. Eventually it can lead to infection. Some people take allergy medication as needed but the best thing to do is to take allergy medicine daily to keep histamine levels down and under control.”

Last modified Sept. 22, 2016