Global warming, precipitation and storm humidity are among the environmental factors blamed for increased allergen levels expected to bring a brutal allergy season, according to a new report in My Health News Daily.
The report comes as no surprise to those who suffer from allergies, like Phillip Holmer.
"My whole face swells up and it looks like I've gotten in a big fight. It's not a lot of fun. Apparently, I'm allergic to everything. Dust mites, mold, grasses, dogs, cats -- you name it, I'm allergic to it," chuckled Holmer.
Holmer began treating his allergies with over-the-counter medicines, and he said they worked fine at first.
"I wrote it off as a cold every year -- same time every year -- and just dealt with it until I started swelling up," he said. "Now, I get the shots every five years."
Dr. Julia Montejo, an allergist at Fairview Hospital, says the theories about what is contributing to more active allergy seasons vary.
"Perhaps we're having longer pollen season -- shorter winters, warmer weather, maybe global warming. That may be contributing to some of the worsening symptoms that people suffer from."
Montejo urges those who suffer from allergies in the spring to begin taking medication two weeks before they expect the onset of symptoms.
"We started seeing pollen right around the first of April," she said.
The pollen that is in the air now traveled from the south, according to Montejo; however, when the weather finally breaks in Minnesota, the onset of wheezing and sneezing could be abrupt.
"It'll seem like it's almost overnight for many folks. They'll go from having no symptoms to symptoms they attribute to maybe a cold to full-blown runny stuffy nose, sneezing itchy eyes, discomfort," she said.
Whether you use over-the-counter treatments, allergy shots or both, Montejo offered some tips on minimizing exposure to allergens:
If you suspect seasonal allergies are making you suffer, visit www.acaai.org/nasp to locate a free allergy and asthma screening location in your area.