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UW-Health Allergist: This is an Unusual Year

Dr. Mark Moss, a UW-Health Allergist, says this spring is a lot different than last year's for allergy sufferers.
Dr. Mark Moss, a UW-Health Allergist, says this spring is a lot different than last year's for allergy sufferers.
May 6, 2013

MADISON, Wis. - If you're an allergy sufferer, you know the drill: itchy eyes, sneezy, runny nose. And you know the spring allergy season has finally arrived. According to University of Wisconsin health allergist Dr. Mark Moss, this spring's allergy season has not followed the typical pattern.

"What we see is a rise in pollen count usually around mid-April, peaking around the first weeks in May, and then gradually declining through the month of May. Now this year, we haven't seen a peak in tree pollen counts until essentially this past week."

Moss said over-the-counter medications usually help many sufferers, but for those in misery, an allergist can often find a prescription drug that will give seasonal help.

Veterans of Wisconsin's spring allergy season know a few tricks to keep pollen out of their home, but for those who may be new to it, Moss had some recommendations.

"You can close your house and run the fan or air conditioner," he suggested. "That sort of seals the house from outdoor pollen. You can avoid hanging clothes on lines to dry outside, where they can collect pollen. And if you work outside, you can change your clothes when you come indoors, or take a shower, to avoid dragging the pollen into your home."

According to Moss, avoiding pollen is still the best way to keep allergies under control.

Allergists do not have a crystal ball that helps them predict what kind of allergy season it will be, he noted. Moss said every year can be different.

"Last year we had a very early spring, and our tree pollen season began in the beginning of March and was extremely long. This year we've had the exact opposite, with cold and rain that have delayed the start of the tree pollen season."

Last year was one of the worst spring pollen seasons in Wisconsin history, Moss said.

Tim Morrissey, Public News Service - WI