March 20, 2006
Contact: Tom Capezzuto
Phone: (973) 972-3000
Mild And Prolonged Winter Translates Into Anticipated
Heavy Pollen for Spring Season Sufferers
NEWARK—While it may not necessarily feel like it, spring has officially arrived. And with spring comes unwanted seasonal pollen too, says an allergy expert at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.
After a relatively mild winter, pollen-producing tree buds, weeds and grasses appear ready to blossom for the perennial arrival of pollen season, said Dr. Leonard Bielory, director of the Asthma and Allergy Research Center at the UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School in Newark.
"Many of my patients have already experienced some discomfort and have sought treatment, and that's what more patients have to do - act now to avoid nagging sneezing and incessant itchy, watery eyes," Dr. Bielory said.
Prescription medications, including histamine injections, and over-the-counter medications are both recognized as traditional treatments. Alternative medicine approaches, such as herbal nasal sprays and organic compounds, may be beneficial to some patients, Dr. Bielory noted.
"Using common sense and practical approaches can help patients with pollen allergies avoid potential life-threatening situations, such as serious asthma attacks triggered by allergies."
Keeping car and home windows shut and using air conditioning as much as possible will minimize the effect of pollen by simply preventing exposure to it. Dr. Bielory noted that allergies account for about 90 percent of all pediatric asthma attacks, and nearly half of adult asthma episodes, some of which can require emergency treatment or possibly hospitalization.
Coughing, a common respiratory symptom, is normal for those with seasonal allergies, but a cough is typically triggered by avoidable environmental elements, including mold spores, animal dander, dust and certain foods, Dr. Bielory said.
To discuss the effects from the arrival of pollen season with Dr. Bielory, call Tom Capezzuto at (973) 972-7273.
A daily pollen count, available both in English and Spanish, may be accessed by calling UMDNJ's 24-hour hotline at (973) 972-6518. A pollen count fact sheet is attached to provide additional information.