Why your allergies are so bad already and what to do about them

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – The sneezing, wheezing and runny eyes — are you suffering?

Spring allergies are already popping up in the Midstate, in part because flowers and other budding plants are already popping up themselves. The mild winter weather has jump-started blooming all over the country.

“Weather’s nice, ain’t too cold,” Daniel Elliott said while enjoying Tuesday afternoon in Harrisburg’s Riverfront Park.

The weather is a little too nice for his allergies.

“Definitely, when I come out of buildings,” he said, “I constantly sneeze, like, three or four times every time I come out of the building.”

His reaction to pollen is bad. He said he has a sinus infection now because of it.

All over the Midstate, people are complaining — and with good reason. WHTM’s Garden Guru Kathy Quarles said things are blooming at least two to three weeks early.

That’s meant pharmacists like Alicia Burkhart, the pharmacist manager at the Medicine Shoppe inside the Hamilton Health Center in Allison Hill, are prepped for an early allergy season.

“With the weather change that we’ve had,” she said, “any minute.”

She’s already seen an early start. She and the other employees there are filling quite a few more allergy medication prescriptions than normal for February.

“I just had to order nasal-type stuff that I haven’t had to order yet this season,” Burkhart said. “So, it’s coming.”

Midstate allergist Dr. Robert Zuckerman said in a phone conversation he has not seen a surge of patients so far this year, even though he expected one with so much tree pollen in the air.

But that makes sense, he said — he’s the last resort after the meds don’t work.

He has a few tips to control your allergies:

  • Keep your windows closed
  • Run your A/C, even if not cold, to filter the air
  • Don’t line-dry your clothes
  • Exercise later in the day
  • Avoid windy days

“My eyes be watering, sneezing, nose running,” Elliott said. He does what he can to lessen the allergy burden.

His advice: “Get some nasal sprays and sinus pills and stock up on ibuprofen.”

We may not be talking about bad allergies much longer: Quarles said the cold Wednesday night could scale the blooms back. That may also mean fewer flowers this spring.

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