Got allergies? Here's why, how to help them

PHOENIX - Stuffy noses, endless sneezing and watering eyes...any of that sound all too familiar? 

ABC15 asked an expert as to why this allergy season has been so severe and seemingly longer than normal.

Doctor David Mendelson is an Otolaryngologist at Tempe St. Luke's Hospital and Mountain Vista Medical Center. He explained that our state's weird weather from hot to cold, along with a year-round growing season is a recipe for disaster when it comes to allergy suffering. 

The good news is that Dr. Mendelson said the heat will help. When temperatures are consistently above 100 degrees, that kills off some of those allergens. 

RELATED: Doctors weigh in on facts, myths of allergies

However, monsoon weather may send sinuses on a roller coaster ride.

"The winds absolutely make the allergies worse," Dr. Mendelson explained. "The nice thing is when it rains it kind of puts all the pollens down, but then it dries out and blows around again, so it becomes a vicious cycle."

Dr. Mendelson also described how those allergens could not only be lurking outside, but following you inside your home.

He gave a list of simple things you can do in your home to put your allergic reactions to bed: 

  • Air purifiers with a HEPA filter
  • Cheesecloth over vents
  • Allergy-proof your bedding products with pillowcases and sheets
  • Take a shower and/or change your clothes right after you get home

But, besides the home, the office is also becoming a petri dish for pollen. Stratus Building Solutions said, "Americans miss 24.5 million workdays each year due to 'occupational asthma' and lose energy and focus due to sneezing, coughing and watery eyes."

They have created the Office Allergy Checklist as they believe it is a real question for everyday employees to ask, 'Am I allergic to work?': 

  • Stop sprayin’ and prayin’ – Ditch the reliance on fragrances, disinfectant sprays, chemical cleaners, etc. to mask smells and clean spills.  Alkaline and acid cleaners contain dangerous chemicals and people are allergic to various scents.   Use green, plant-based disinfectant wipes and consider a “scent-free” policy to combat these issues.  And if an employee wears a strong perfume or cologne, it might be time to privately ask them to stop.  Strong scents can aggravate allergies and make colleagues sick. 
  • Reward early birds and promote clean eating – Pollen gets worse later in the day so encourage employees to arrive early.  Spicy/bold foods trigger more histamines – sending people into allergy fits. So, make sure you know about your employees’ food allergies that may require your office to have a separate refrigerator or microwave to keep food separate. If you bring in lunch, consider catering with allergy-fighting foods, such as fish, walnuts, peppers and strawberries.   
  • Vent away – Effective filtration is critical during allergy season. Conduct an indoor air quality test to make sure air is recirculated so you’re not sucking in outdoor allergens.   Also, minimize workplace humidity (to less than 50 percent) and frequently clean poorly ventilated areas to protect against mold.
  • Plan projects – Don’t compound the pollen problem with other projects/items that spark allergic reactions. Save office improvement projects requiring painting for the holidays when many aren’t working because all types of paint can cause allergy issues. Many folks have latex allergies so eliminate all latex from the office, especially rubber latex products such as rubber bands, balloons, medical supplies and plastic bottles. And if possible, during allergy season, ask the lawn crews to come as early as possible (when pollen isn’t as bad) or late when everyone’s gone home.  
  • Celebrate a “Dust Your Desk Day” – Throw an office cleaning party to eliminate the desk clutter that’s collecting dust and allergens. Check up on cleaning crews to make certain they’re tackling your offices dustiest places that rarely get cleaned (keyboards, mice/pads, monitors, computer cords/plugs, window blinds, upholstered furniture, and cubical partitions)

Dr. Mendelson also recommends getting an allergy test completed. The test involves a small prick with small needles containing specific allergens. The test will show exactly what allergens trigger a reaction from a patient's body and will allow a doctor to create a treatment plan that will help the patient with a preemptive approach to treating the allergen. 

RELATED: Feeling sad in the spring? Allergy-mood link is real, experts say

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