CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The first day of Autumn may be two days away, but for allergy sufferers, the symptoms related to Fall have already begun.
“Everyone’s like what’s out there, what is going on? I feel terrible. So we’re seeing a lot of itchy watery eyes, stuffy nose, runny nose, sneezing,” says Dr. Maeve O’Connor, an allergist with the Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Relief Center in Ballantyne.
Dr. O’Connor says the biggest fall allergy trigger right now is ragweed, but others are lurking.
“Also mold. Mold likes damp places so as you’re raking your leaves mold spores can get up into the air. Also, as the temperature goes down outside you’re going to turn on your heat where all your dust mites are.”
She says the hot weather is partly to blame for ragweed and mold remaining at medium to high levels, with temperatures still averaging about ten degrees above normal.
“With the climate change it means we’re having longer pollinating seasons, which means not only do we have more months of suffering, but we also have higher pollen counts.”
And to make things worse, reports of an upper respiratory virus we first heard about last year, which doctors say has the same symptoms as allergies are once again circulating the web. Doctor O’Connor says it’s not unusual for patients to get the two mixed up, but says there are ways you can tell the difference.
“A viral infection will usually have fever associated with it and it will usually last 3 to 5 days and that will be it. Allergies, you typically don’t have a fever or any body aches and also you usually have symptoms longer if you don’t treat them.”
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