Kansans Suffering From Allergy Explosion

By: Phil White Email
By: Phil White Email

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Friday, August 31, 2012

If you've been stuffed up, sneezing or sniffling the past couple of weeks, you are certainly not alone.

There's been a seasonal allergy explosion, with sufferers not getting any relief from the drought conditions that have plagued Kansas this summer. Even those who do not suffer from seasonal allergies have likely noticed co-workers or friends and family who have been feeling miserable recently.

Allergists say symptoms have been flaring up and the weather is at least partly to blame.

"I've seen more patients coming through and I've had a lot more calls after hours," said Dr. M.H. Van Strickland, a Wichita allergist and immunologist.

He said his patients certainly know the latest allergy season has arrived.

"What we're really seeing is the weeds," Van Strickland said. "The weeds were having trouble. They were looking sort of droopy; they were sort of short, but we got this one big burst of rain."

That rain last weekend was all weeds, especially ragweed, needed to make people miserable.

Van Strickland said as bad as symptoms have gotten for allergy sufferers the past week or so, things could get worse this weekend.

"Now we've got a weekend when people are going to be outdoors," he said. "They're going to be at the lake and stuff like that."

There are things people who must deal with allergies can do to at least alleviate those weekend allergy symptoms.

"The pollen is attracted to your hair," Van Strickland said. "So go home and take a shower before you go to bed; sort of wash the pollen off."

Of course, over-the-counter medications are effective for many people with allergies. Van Strickland said it is best to take those medications on a regular basis instead of waiting until symptoms set in.

"They're very effective if you take them before you get sick and then continue them rather than try to take it on a day that you're sick and then forget about it after that," he said.

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