GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - Seemingly overnight trees and bushes bloomed all across Eastern Carolina and while it sets the scene for a beautiful spring, cars are covered in pollen and the sniffles soon follow.
The CDC reports allergies as the sixth leading cause of chronic illness in the country, affecting more than 50 million Americans annually.
Now, the season is starting in the East.
Greenville native Willie Moore could be speaking for most of the East when he says, “I’m not too much of a fan of allergy season.”
Many drivers woke up to a blanket of yellow pollen on their cars on Tuesday.
“You’ll come outside your house and it’ll be straight yellow one day,” said Moore. “It’s going to be that way for a while, at least until we get some rain.”
This all serves as a signal of the incoming allergy season, and protecting yourself from irritants is not quite the same as what you may be used to with COVID.
“You know, with allergens, depending on what type of mask you wear, the pollens are so small that you’ll probably still get exposed somewhat through a mask,” said Dr. Mott Blair with Vidant Health. “It might not protect you.”
Spring brings out the beauty of the East and the congestion of Alyssa Proulx.
“For me, it lasts until next winter, but that’s just me. I have fall allergies too,” said Proulx. “If you’re driving in the mountains and it looks like fog, it looks like that, but yellow.”
When Proulx feels those symptoms of headaches, runny noses, and itchy eyes set in, she heads to the drug store.
“I certainly recommend to my patients the over the counter allergy medicines and antihistamines,” said Blair. “I certainly like the Claritin, Allegra, and Zyrtecs of the world. They typically don’t make you very sleepy.”
Allergies can be either seasonal, triggered by pollens, grasses, weeds, or airborne mold spores in the spring, summer, and early fall, or they can be perennial, triggered year-round by a sensitivity to things like dust mites, pet dander, or food allergies.
Dr. Blair suggests the over-the-counter antihistamines work just fine, but if you have any pre-existing conditions like elevated blood pressure or hypertension, you’ll want to consult a doctor before loading up on decongestants.
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