Allergist says seeing pollen earlier means a longer allergy season

Longer allergy season ahead for Alabama

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Dr. J. Allen Meadows serves as the president-elect for the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology and said in recent years, pollen has been showing up weeks earlier than usual.

“We are beginning to see pollen here in Alabama earlier than we ever did before,” said Meadows. “For many years, like clockwork, the trees would start pollinating on Valentine’s Day. Now, in three of the last four years, we’ve seen pollen in the middle of January. In 2018, we only had one week in Montgomery where we didn’t have pollen out there.”

Meadows said the changing climate produces a longer growing season. He said that combined with the natural attributes of Alabama make it a party place for pollen to build.

“Grass, trees and weeds just love it here,” Meadows said. “We have the perfect mix of sunshine and water. What makes it so beautiful outside and what makes us want to be outside is what grows all this pollen."

Meadows said allergies are an issue in Alabama, but there have also been a number of treatments developed for allergy patients that are accessible and affordable.

“There are so many great treatment options now that there really is no reason for someone to suffer from allergies or asthma,” Meadows said.

The first step is for you to get tested to see what your specific allergies are. Meadows said that test, which includes kid-friendly methods, makes it possible for allergists to create unique treatments for their patients. He said along with pollen, patients can be sensitive to ragweed, grass and types of dust. While there are a number of treatments available, Meadows said there are some that are better tailored for different types of triggers.

Meadows also said it’s crucial for you to keep the windows to your home shut if pollen is around.

“Even if you just keep them open for a few hours, all of that pollen is coming into your home and will just settle,” Meadows said.

He also said people should wash their hair daily, especially if they spend time outdoors.

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