(CBS – Binghamton, New York)
If you’ve been sneezing and itching your eyes more than usual, chances are it’s because recent wet conditions have magnified this allergy season, according to experts.
“When we had all the rainfall we’ve received, that’s creating a great growing environment for the mold and the allergens,” says meteorologist Brian Schroeder.
Drier seasons usually result in calmer seasonal allergies.
“If it’s a dry season and the growth is meager, then the pollen levels will not be as high. So absolutely this has been a very high, seasonal allergy season because of that,” Dr. Mohan Dhillon, an allergy specialist, said.
Mold and other allergens like ragweed have flourished in the recent wet conditions. Dr. Dhillon says allergy season typically begins in mid-August, when ragweed starts to grow. It ends in late October when the temperatures drop. However, mold is unlike other allergens. It can grow inside.
“Once there’s snow cover on the ground, then the outdoor mold will start to go away, however mold can also be found indoors,” Dr. Dhillon said.
Mold will grow in warm, damp spaces, like behind a heater.
“Mold is nature’s recycler. So if there’s anything organic out there, mold will grow on it because that’s its source of food,” Dr. Dhillon said.
Symptoms of allergies are often sneezing, itchy eyes and nose, stuffiness, sinus pressure, headaches, and post-nasal drip.
If you do suffer from seasonal allergies, Dr. Dhillon said there are steps one can take to lessen the symptoms.
“The pollen levels tend to be highest in the mornings cause that’s how nature works. It releases pollen early in the morning so avoiding being outdoors in the morning is beneficial,” Dr. Dhillon said.
Dr. Dhillon also recommends not drying clothing outside because pollen will latch onto it. If avoiding pollen isn’t enough, he said taking an antihistamine or nasal spray can help. For those with more severe seasonal allergies, immunotherapy is another option.