Reporting Chris Simon
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Some experts are warning allergy sufferers that Minnesota could be on the cusp of an early and nasty season because of our roller coaster temperatures.
If we have another short winter — and all indications from the National Weather Service say that we are in for warmer temperatures, as March is expected to come in like lamb — the upcoming allergy season could start sooner and be more severe.
That means another season of discomfort for allergy sufferers like Jeanine Keller of Hopkins.
“On a real bad day, I end up icing my eyes because they get so miserably itchy,” said Keller, who showed up early at the Park Nicollet Allergy and Asthma Center for her routine shots.
Keller’s doctor Brenda Guyer is also president of the Minnesota Allergy Society. She says the trees will dry up sooner, and the warmer weather may produce more pollen than in a regular season.
“We’ll get high levels of tree pollen in the air, and that’s breathed into the nose and gets into the eyes, causing an allergic reaction,” Guyer said.
One of the only ways to escape the effects of a bad pollen day is to seal up your house and crank up the air conditioner, but that is not always practical.
“You can take allergy medicine, or allergy shots, or simply stay away of from what bothers you, but the third is not always realistic. Allergy shots are actually the most effective, but that does require a doctor’s visit, so that is may preclude some people coming in,” Guyer said.
The allergy shots also last a little longer in the system and are ideal for people like Jeanine with an active Minnesota lifestyle. However, Keller must be doubly careful since she also suffers from asthma.
“They are interrelated and connected, and those itchy eyes, itchy throat and runny nose and all these things trigger my asthma,” Keller said.
There is really no way around it; line up and take your medicine or lock yourself away in seclusion, Guyer says.
“You can stay away from what you are allergic to, although that is hard to do completely unless you live in a bubble,” she said.
She expects longer lines to form a little earlier this season as allergy sufferers seek relief through more medicines or injections.