The spring blooms may be pretty, but they are not always a welcome sight for Hoosiers who suffer from seasonal allergies. Some experts predict a rough allergy season because the harsh winter delayed tree pollination and now everything is blooming at once. According to allergist Dr. Douglas Neeld with Lutheran Medical Group in Ft. Wayne, an estimated 25 percent of the population suffers from seasonal allergies, and the number seems to be rising.
“Asthma can also be triggered by allergies, eczema can also be triggered by allergies, and in children they suffer especially,” he said. “Rates for these diseases can be as high as 40 percent in the pediatric population.”
Neeld said the first line of defense should be avoidance measures, including closing windows in your car and house. He said saline sprays or a neti pot are helpful, but most allergy sufferers will also need medication.
“Antihistamines, they treat symptoms, the sneezing itching and runny nose: the nasal steroids, that gets more to the root of the problem, but it still doesn’t treat the cause,” he cautioned. “The only things that will typically shut off an allergy are the allergy shots or immunotherapy.”
Neeld said allergy shots are very effective, and Hoosiers whose seasonal allergies seem to be getting worse each year should talk to their doctors.
“If you think you are allergic and you need help, you really need to be tested,” he said. “And then we have a lot better idea of whether it’s the allergy season that’s causing you the trouble, or is it an infection, or is it possibly an infection on top of allergies?”
Neeld said those allergic to tree pollen and grasses will likely experience symptoms until the end of July. According to the website Pollen.com, on Sunday, the pollen count in Indianapolis was 11.5, the upper end of the high range.