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Current allergy season one of the worst in years

By Jennifer Stagg | Posted - Jul. 6, 2011 at 10:25 p.m.



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SALT LAKE CITY — With all of this warm weather, it's nice to get outside and enjoy it — but not if the moment you breathe in the fresh air, you get the itching and sneezing and the watery eyes.

Did you know? ...
  • Approximately 20 percent of Americans suffer from allergies, making it the sixth most prevalent condition in the country.
  • Allergy is one of the most pervasive and debilitating diseases affecting the workplace today. Allergies account for approximately 10 percent of all lost workdays in this country.
  • The cost of lost workdays and impaired productivity is over $11 billion per year.

(Information from Intermountain Allergy & Asthma)

A lot of people agree this allergy season has been the worst they've seen in years. This year, it felt as though summer would never arrive; and now that it has, there's a whole lot of sneezing, coughing and sniffling going on.

"My husband all the way down to my 1-year-old, we're all suffering," said Desiree Werritt.

The Werritt family had all come down with terrible colds all at the same time — or so they thought, until they went to a pharmacy.

"The pharmacist said, ‘Well, let me guess. You've got nasal congestion, and when you wake up in the morning you've got a sore throat. But by mid-day you're doing OK?'" Werritt recalled. "He said, ‘You have allergies.'"

That's right, all that sniffling and sneezing is caused by the sudden burst into the season we've had. If you can't remember an allergy season ever being this bad, neither can some doctors.

More:

"(We're seeing) not only greater numbers, but seems like more severe symptoms. So people are coming in with swollen eyes, and bloodshot eyes, and just sniffling and miserable," said Dr. Kevin Wilson, an ear, nose and throat specialist at University Hospital.

Wilson says he's not sure why allergies are so much worse this year, but he thinks it has something to do with the extremely wet spring and then sudden bloom into summer. "It was cold for so long and suddenly warmed up, and it seemed like everything released its pollen at once," he said.

If staying inside for the rest of the season isn't an option, Wilson has a couple of suggestions. "If you're mowing the lawn, you can put on a mask to try to decrease your exposure," he said. "If you sleep with a window open at night, and all of that pollen is bathing you all night, you're going to have a lot more symptoms."

The bad news: the pollen and allergies may not go away until the weather cools down again. If they get to be too much for you, Wilson suggests you go see a doctor. There are shots and drops that can help ease all that itching.

Email: jstagg@ksl.com

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Jennifer Stagg

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