Allergists prepare for condensed, but severe spring allergy season

Some allergy medications are now available over the counter

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Some experts say the effects of the spring allergy season may be twice as bad this year. 10 On Your Side sat down with local allergist Dr. Gary Moss at Allergy and Asthma Specialists LTD to find out why.

“The allergy sufferers are thinking, ‘Wow, March is much better than usual. Usually I’m suffering by now.’ And maybe they thought they’d escaped it,” Moss said. “When the snow’s covering everything, we’re not having the tree and grass pollen come out, but they started in the past two weeks.”

Experts say this allergy season is going to be condensed because it’s starting late. The catch: it’s going to be pretty severe, with high pollen counts, because of all the recent snow.

“The wetness means each tree is going to really pollinate a lot,”Moss said. “But also, now the trees that were supposed to be pollinating in February are going to start pollinating in late March.”

Dr. Moss’ office is preparing vials of allergy extract for patients as calls come in with classic symptoms.

“Stuffy nose, runny nose, sneezing itchy watery eyes,” Moss said. “I’ve had patients pull out their smart phones and put it in their calendar, a reminder of when to start if they have a particular start date.”

Many more are expected to join the ranks of allergy sufferers. As a result, the FDA has approved more over-the-counter solutions. There’s also something else new for you this year.

“Nasacort went over the counter last year,” Moss said. “Flonase just went over the counter for this Spring. These are nasal steroids, and even though they’re steroids, they’re really safe. There’s also something called sublingual immunotherapy, and these are for the Spring. We have grass tablets that go under the tongue, typically we like to start January 1.”

That same type of therapy is now available for ragweed. You have to start that around June 1.

As gorgeous as it’s going to be outside, of course, other things to keep in mind if you’re an allergy sufferer are closing windows and wearing a mask, if you need to work outdoors.

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