Allergist explains the pollen that's really bothering you

Andrea Blanford Image
Monday, April 8, 2019
The smaller pollens cause the most problems.
Pollen is everywhere, it seems.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- No, it's not just in your head. That thick haze of yellow pine pollen really is getting into your eyes, nose, and coating your throat.

However, while allergists say it's irritating, it's not what's to blame for making allergy sufferers miserable this spring.

Dr. Heather Gutekunst with Allergy Partners of Raleigh has seen a spike in patients to her office during the last two weeks. They complain of itchy, watery eyes, runny nose, sneezing, and coughing.

"The pine can bother some patients, but it's a small percentage of patients compared to some of the things that we can't see," said Gutekunst. "The smaller the pollen that's invisible to the naked eye tends to be more of a trigger for the immune response than the larger pollen that we can see."

Pollen counts for oak, birch, and juniper are particularly high to start the week. Gutekunst said it won't be long before another round of allergens gets the best of those already suffering.

"In April in North Carolina we have an overlap for a couple weeks where we have pretty high counts of tree and then grass also gets started," she said. "So when we see that, if you are allergic to both, we tend to see an escalation in symptoms."

Allergists said that over-the-counter allergy medication is a good place to start. Gutekunst suggests first checking with a pharmacist to find the right medication for you.

There are more ways to beat allergies this season.