Higher pollen counts and low air quality from Canadian wildfires cause bad allergy symptoms

NOW: Higher pollen counts and low air quality from Canadian wildfires cause bad allergy symptoms

SOUTH BEND, Ind - With pollen counts at all-time high and bad air quality from the Canadian wildfires, people with allergies are struggling more than ever.

According to some studies, allergy season has become longer, with a higher pollen count leading to things like a runny nose, itchy eyes and itchy throat.

Dr. Jim Harris, an allergy and asthma specialist for nearly four decades, has some tips about how to fight symptoms.

“So as allergies this year, there are a lot of medications to treat it, like over-the-counter antihistamines, nasal steroid spray and eyedrops can be very helpful,” said Harris.

The low air quality from the Canadian wildfires has made it even more difficult to get relief from symptoms.

“The problem is the irritant effect of the smoke of the fires so that the medicines don’t really help out very much, so some of the best things you can do is stay indoors as much as they can, keep the windows closed, keeping the air conditioning on, particularly if you're a high-risk person,” said Harris.

On top of low air quality, we are moving from tree pollen season to grass pollen season, which can be a triple whammy if you're an allergy sufferer.

Leslie Kaser, a mom of three here in South Bend, says her entire family is struggling with allergies.

“I've been having to take Zyrtec, especially all three of my children. I thought they had colds at first but basically have had constant runny noses for the past three weeks,” said Kaser.

I also spoke with Carol Fountain, who has allergies and worked as an administrator for Allergy practice in Indianapolis.

“I can't go outside without a box of Kleenex and now with the weather this morning, it was saying that the Quebec fires and the smoke, the bad pollution is coming this way and we'll have that to deal with also,” said Fountain.

If you do suffer from seasonal allergies, Dr. Harris recommended visiting your family doctor if over-the-counter meds don't help.

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