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How to get ahead of spring allergies

Some East Tennesseans have already felt attacked by allergies, while others have wondered if and when their season will begin.
Published: Mar. 4, 2021 at 7:18 PM EST
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Some East Tennesseans have already felt attacked by allergies, while others have wondered if and when their season will begin.

“We predict this is going to be a pretty bad year cause it wasn’t cold enough,” explained Dr. Prince, an allergist in Knoxville and Maryville, “If you have a warmer wet winter, it really gets the tree pollen out there and then of course it keeps the mold going too. That’s unique to East Tennessee is how high our mold counts get.”

So far pollen allergy sufferers’ like Larry Lung hadn’t been affected.

Lung said, “I’ve been pretty good so far this year but usually I get them real bad in the spring and summertime.”

Avid gardener, Janet Murray has felt the effects because she believes she has a mold allergy that’s acted up because of all the recent rain.

“Seems like mine started up about three weeks ago. I’ve had problems with sinuses and congestion drainage and all that. And I got out in the yard and worked yesterday and it was a little bit better instead of worse so, I think pollen is just starting,” said Murray.

Dr. Prince said East Tennessee is known to have a lot of mold.

“Right now there’s not a lot of pollen out there. There’s a little bit of tree pollen. Little bit of maple, juniper, and alder that we’re picking up on the counters but not enough to cause symptoms,” explained Prince.

Both Lung and Murray know their symptoms can and will get much worse.

“I think they’re going to hit eventually; they do every year,” said Lung.

Murray said, “At my age you get used to it. You just prepare yourself and take whatever medicines you need to take.”

Dr. Prince listed some things he and others say help:

-Over the counter allergy medications, eye drops and nasal sprays

-Local honey

-Taking a shower after having been out in the pollen all day

-Saline rinses and washes

-Keeping windows and doors closed

-Using a good air filter, and recycling the air in your car

-Allergy shots

Wondering if the masks we’re wearing to protect from Covid-19 will fend off allergies? Dr. Prince said the masks aren’t likely to lead to an easier allergy season. He said only masks used by healthcare workers and first responders can do that.

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