Allergy Season

By: Rebekah Baum
By: Rebekah Baum

You'd be hard pressed to find something 19-year-old Melissa Darling isn't allergic to.

"Corn fields, wheat fields, trees, pollen, grass," says Darling.

Mold, cats, outside animals, but Melissa also suffers from asthma, and just breathing in the current climate has been a chore.

"Having a hard time breathing, sneezing started in March, and it usually doesn't start until April or May," says Darling.

Melissa's allergist, Dr. Fatima Mohiuddin with Swedish American Health System, says Melissa isn't alone.

"Coming in earlier, with more severe symptoms. They're sneezing, itchy eyes, runny nose. They just feel fatigued," says Dr. Mohiuddin.

Rockford is known as the Forest City, but those beautiful trees, coupled with rivers and farmland, makes northern Illinois a hotspot for allergies.

"Because of the early spring we had so much rain, so all the trees started blossoming, grasses that grow and blossom, and one of the other allergies that comes out in the spring are the mold spores, so with the wet, rotting leaves, you have mold spores pollinating," says Mohiuddin.

Dr. Mohiuddin says allergies can be devastating, causing people to miss work, school, and daily activities.

"One of the things people don't realize is that it's not just itchy eyes and runny noses, they also get complications like ear infections, sinus infections, their asthma gets triggered because it's a fertile ground for bugs to grow," says Mohiuddin.

But there are some steps we can take to minimize the symptoms such as limiting outdoor activities, keeping windows closed, wearing a mask when mowing the lawn or gardening and taking a shower before going to sleep.

Dr. Mohiuddin says prevention is key. If you feel allergies coming on see your doctor because medication may be the answer. Antihistamines and decongestants are the most commonly used medications to treat allergies.


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