Blame the itchy eyes, the runny nose and wheezy rattle in your lungs this time of year on trees that are blanketing the world with pollen in their willy-nilly attempts to reproduce.
Alder and birch are the main culprits. But if you suffer from allergies, pollen from cedars and junipers, cottonwoods and poplars, maples and oaks also may be making you feel miserable — and tired.
“Malaise and fatigue are common complaints also for seasonal allergy sufferers,” says Dr. William Anderson, an allergy specialist for Asthma & Allergy Center of Whatcom County.
The tree pollen season lasts through April.
Nearly 36 million people in the United States suffer from hay fever each year, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. And more than 70 percent of people with asthma also suffer from allergies.
What’s more, those living in the Southeast are suffering what is reportedly the worst allergy season in more than two decades as a haze of yellow pollen, likely from pine trees, has blanketed the region while other allergists blame global warming for allergy seasons that are growing longer.
But that doesn’t seem to be the case in Whatcom County.
“I think in certain parts of the country it is a more significant allergy season this year due to weather changes,” Anderson says, “but I haven’t seen this here, except for one day about two weeks ago (in March) when the weather was hot and the pollen count for alder pollen was extremely high.”
If you’re suffering — symptoms include copious amounts of sneezing, a stuffed-up nose and pressure on sinuses, including sinus infection — here’s how to find relief, according to Anderson and the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology:
“Most allergists will combine the nasal spray with an antihistamine, Loratadine (Claritin), Zyrtec, Allegra,” Anderson says.