Mother Nature may have been kind in many places this year, dumping just a little snow, hardly enough to make a snowman at times. It's kept many from being out in the cold, but such a mild winter can have an effect on the allergy season. "We are still getting out of mud season and with mud season you get mold and because we haven't had a very terribly cold winter, much of the mold hasn't died of, so we are expecting a very heavy mold issue this time of year," says Dr. Frank Dubeck of Excellus BlueCross BlueShield.
Central New York has great air quality and great water. The region is a river valley, so you do have more moisture, translating into mold. "We are subject to the pollen everyone has, and there are also environmental chemicals depending on our housing situation, how well our indoor air is filtered," says Dubeck.
Usual allergy symptoms include sneezing, nasal congestion and mild coughing. Although allergies aren't deadly, they can lead to more serious problems such as sinus infections, and people with asthma can suffer more complications from allergies. In agricultural communities, dusts and allergens are everywhere and that can trigger asthma. In the winter when we spend a lot of time indoors in a closed off environment, that can have implications as well. But extra filters can help clear the air.
"The other rather shocking thing about allergies is they are insects that feed off your dead skin cells, it's estimated after a couple of years with your pillow, half the weight of your pillow is dust mites," says Dubeck.
If dust mites don't bother you, it's not a problem, but for those with allergies and asthma coverings on bed clothing can prevent problems. Asthmatics need to pay special care to monitoring their condition, constant care can prevent more serious attacks. Many find over-the-counter medications work well, but for chronic allergy sufferers, talk to your doctor about allergy shots.