Allergies acting up? You're not alone. North Carolina doctor offers allergy treatment tips as pollen count soars

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Wednesday, April 7, 2021
Allergy flare-ups soar as NC pollen count skyrockets: Here are some tips
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A new report says pine and oak trees are the culprits behind the high pollen count in North Carolina causing a jump in allergist visits.

The pollen count has been "very high" for the last few days in central Carolina.

A report out Wednesday, with data from the North Carolina Division of Air Quality, shows pine and oak trees are a few of the culprits making people uncomfortable.

It seems pesky green pollen is just about everywhere these days. The coating isn't necessarily what's causing allergies to kick up. It's the invisible particles swirling around in the air that leaves people suffering.

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"This is the worst," said Raleigh resident Andy Filangeri.

"I've never seen pollen this thick and foggy before, and it's really been hard on the children," said Vicky Crawford, who is visiting from Virginia. "I've been having a lot of itchy throat and itching in my ears."

Allergists said clinics have been busy.

People are desperately trying to get prescription medication or inquiring about allergy immunotherapy, which is a long-term series of shots.

"Allergy shots are very helpful to hopefully cure you of your allergies," said UNC Allergist Dr. Sofija Voleratas of UNC Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology.

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There are over-the-counter options at your local pharmacy.

While most people tend to pick a package of pills, doctors say there is a better product.

"The nose sprays are far and away the better option to really manage your symptoms. It's just a lot easier to pop a pill," said Voleratas.

A nasal spray does require consistency. You have to use it daily for it to work best and Voleratas said it takes about 7 days to build up a layer of protections against allergens.

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Voleratas also says it's fine to use the spray and pills in at the same time.

Masks additionally provide protection.

"Wearing an N95 absolutely will decrease the amount of allergen that you inhaling because it's designed to filter that out," said Voleratas.

A cloth one can also do the trick.

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"Even before the pandemic, we talked to patients about potentially wearing masks when they were mowing the lawn or doing extended periods of time outside," said Voleratas.

She has other suggestions.

Keep windows closed overnight and limit time outdoors in the morning.

If you have a dog, wipe it down with a wet cloth after walks. Pets collect pollen on their bodies and they can bring it inside your home.