October 22, 2014

Elyria
Cloudy
47°F
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Spring’s finally here — just ask allergy sufferers

OK, those flowers and buds that are blooming right now are pretty. But for allergy sufferers, spring foliage is nothing more than a precursor to sniffles, sneezes and trips to see an allergy specialist.

What’s pretty to look at, such as this display on Gulf Road in Elyria on Tuesday, can be irritating to allergy sufferers. (CT photo by Bruce Bishop.)

The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America ranks the Cleveland metropolitan area — statistically that’s where Lorain County falls — as number 47 on its list of top 100 cities that will be the most challenging for allergy sufferers to live in during the spring. That’s up from the 56th spot that the region occupied last year.

The report is based on a scientific analysis of pollen scores (tree/airborne grass/mold spores and weed pollen), per-patient number of allergy medications and the per-patient number of allergy specialists in the area. The final score was a little over 67, which could be considered great when you look at the worst city on the list — Jackson, Miss. — that had a score of 100.

April and May typically are when allergy symptoms begin presenting themselves, said Dr. David Lang, who works at Cleveland Clinic’s Respiratory Institute. But according to the hospital’s website, there are ways to minimize the agony.

Lang’s advice — start taking medication before symptoms start and minimize outside exposure.

Most over-the-counter allergy medications can provide relief for typical symptoms like runny noses and itchy, watery eyes. Using a nasal steroid spray two to three weeks before spring allergies typically start can also make a big difference.

Also, the best defense is to avoid allergens by staying indoors or in an air-conditioned home or building as much as possible. This can cut down the indoor pollen by as much as 90 percent and keep dust mites under control.

When all else fails, turn to a seasoned sufferer for advice. They have some tried-an- true techniques for getting through the worst of it.

“Get a neti pot,” said 60-year-old Denise Kader of Carlisle Township. “It looks like a little tea pot, but you use it to rinse all the stuff out of your nose.”

Kader said her entire family uses neti pots from time to time, even her horse enthusiast daughter, who spends a lot of time around barns and hay. An allergist turned her onto it about six years ago.

“It does seem kind of gross, but you get used to it, and it really works,” Kader said.

Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or lroberson@chroniclet.com.