Doctors say allergy season in the Ozarks is off to an aggressive start

Published: Mar. 15, 2022 at 10:21 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Many of us are feeling seasonal allergies flare-up with the warmer weather hitting the Ozarks.

Local doctors say they’ve seen an increase in the number of people complaining of severe symptoms.

“Sneezing, clear runny nose, scratchy itchy throat, sore throat, stuffy nose,” said Jordan Valley Clinic Family nurse practitioner Cindy Tull.

She says these symptoms lately have our bodies’ reacting to histamine.

“The sinuses drain into the back of the throat, the ears, the eustachian tubes, especially in children they’re really short. It causes a lot of discomfort. You can have earaches and not a true ear infection. It’s just that clear fluid putting pressure on that membrane or eardrum,” she explained.

CoxHealth Allergist Doctor Minh-Thu Le says our environment has a lot to do with this.

“Ninety-nine percent of scientists believe in climate change. It’s definitely affected allergies just on a very clinical basis and a day-to-day basis I see it. If you look at growth patterns and you can look these up, and temperature patterns through the last hundred years, our area is definitely getting warmer which means longer growing seasons, more concentrated pollen, higher levels of symptoms,” she explained.

She says people without seasonal allergies can have severe symptoms too.

“Kind of like how smoke can bother your nose, perfumes bother some people. They aren’t allergic to it. But the spores or smells can definitely irritate too,” explained Dr. Le

“We haven’t started our count yet but it sounds like it may be a rough one here in the next couple of weeks,” said Aaron Schekorra with the Springfield Greene County Health Department.

The department tracks the count of allergens produced on a daily basis using a machine on the roof of its building.

“It collects the pollen samples for 24 hours. They go up in the morning and collect the samples and look at them under a microscope and get those counts. Then we will publish those around 10:30 each morning,” he explained.

This data helps to give people an insight as to why they may be suffering.

Dr. Le said, “I feel that with climate change it’s just going to keep getting worse.”

“This is the time of year. It’s windy outside. The weather’s always changing. It’s spring,” said Tull.

Doctors say that it’s always best to rule out COVID-19 or the flu and consult with them if you can’t take care of your symptoms with over-the-counter medication.

The health department will start publishing pollen count data next week.

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