In The News
York Daily Record Article as reported by Teresa McMinn
May 30, 2013
While allergy symptoms are especially troublesome for many people across York County right now, the thick layer of yellow dust that coats lawn furniture and cars probably isn’t to blame, a local doctor said. “People are having pretty bad symptoms this spring,” said Amy Auerbach, physician at Allergy & Asthma Consultants in Spring Garden Township, of an overlap between several tree and grass pollens that are blanketing the area. But pine tree pollen, which produces the messy mustard-hued large particles that cling to stuff outdoors, isn’t typically a problem for most folks, she said.
“Pine is not a common allergen,” Auerbach said. Pine is blamed for allergy symptoms that are more likely caused by other tree pollens, such as oak, that happen to fall at the same time, she said. “The yellow pollen itself is larger,” she said of it visibility, while the real troublemakers are usually smaller and less noticeable.
Auerbach said the biggest complaint she’s heard from patients lately is from people with itchy, watery eyes. Over-the-counter antihistamine eye drops can help alleviate irritated eyes. Another common allergy symptom is head congestion, for which nasal steroids can be prescribed to help. “There’s a lot of options,” she said of medications and remedies to help reduce allergy symptoms.
Severe weather often makes an allergy season worse. In theory, that’s because thunderstorms, hurricanes and dramatic switches from rain to sunshine encourage rapid growth and spread of pollen. “The weather can definitely have an impact on the distribution and the levels of the pollen,” said Carl Erickson, AccuWeather.com senior meteorologist. While York County recently received a blast of unseasonably cool weather, temperatures did not get low enough to kill or lessen the various tree and grass pollens, he said. And now, we’re in the middle of a heat wave for the next few days.
“This year, it was more typical,” Erickson said of temperatures that were roughly five degrees below normal for March and three degrees below for April. Additionally, there hasn’t been enough rain to wash some of the allergens from the air, Erickson said. “When you have dry weather you have increased pollen,” he said, adding that there’s no precipitation forecasted for the near future. A good rainstorm can be a double-edged sword for allergy sufferers. Rain can push some of the pollen to the ground. But moisture also nourishes plants, which helps them produce more pollen, he said.
To help reduce the severity of allergy symptoms, Dr. Amy Auerbach, physician at
Allergy & Asthma Consultants in Spring Garden Township, recommends the following:
- Keep windows closed
- Shower after coming in from outdoors
- Use a clothes dryer rather than clothesline to dry laundry
- Air conditioning might be helpful in filtering some pollen particles
- Ask a physician about allergy testing and allergen immunotherapy