Allergy Sufferers Beware

March 31, 2009 12:41:57 AM PDT
The combination of pollens, dust and pollutants trapped in the Valley make Central California one of the worst regions for allergy sufferers.This time of year, flowers are in bloom and Valley residents are spending more time outside. Dr. Richard DeMera said it's also the time of year allergy sufferers are miserable.

"Really puffy, swollen itchy eyes and sneezy, runny noses."

Young Brian Alexander just found out he has asthma and wheezing from his brother Daniel sounds like air being forced out of a balloon through a pinhole. Their mom Elizabeth Alexander said this time of year is tough on her entire family.

"When allergies bring on runny nose, that kind of stuff will settle in his chest."

Elizabeth said they've already made several trips to the doctor this season.

"We've had both of them in twice. We've been to the pharmacist three or four times."

Allergies happen when your immune system over reacts to pollen. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, St. Louis, Missouri is number the worst place to live with asthma. Fresno is 35th on the list, just above Los Angeles, Houston, and Sacramento.

Dr. DeMera said things may seem worse in the valley this year because we are starting to see that dreaded, thick, yellow coating of pollen sooner.

"We've had April, May weather in January, February. So we're seeing a much earlier allergy season than we've seen in the past."

Dr. DeMera said airborne pollens from trees and grasses may be causing the biggest problems for allergy suffers. But he said the worst of allergy season may still be yet to come."

"The biggest allergen we see among trees is the olive tree and that hasn't even bloomed yet."

DeMera says olive trees will bloom within the next three weeks. He says one good thing about having an early allergy season is that it may run its course in a shorter amount of time.

Doctors say use eye drops, nasal sprays or other allergy medications before you go outside or have a flare up. They say you should also avoid outdoor activity in the afternoon when pollen, smog, and pollution levels are highest.

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