Springtime will soon turn to summertime and neither are pleasant times to be outdoors for allergy sufferers in Iowa. Many people are already sneezing — and reeling — with watery red eyes and stuffy noses due to elevated pollen levels.
Dr. Miles Weinberger, a pediatrics professor and allergy researcher at the University of Iowa, says pollen will be a pest for the next several months. The worst of the major pollens that effect people in the Midwest is ragweed, which usually strikes between mid-August and late September. The grass pollen comes out usually in June and the first pollens are the tree pollens which are out now.
While there are numerous over-the-counter medications that can relieve allergy symptoms, Weinberger says many sufferers are taking the wrong drugs. “When you look at the major problems that people have with this, it’s often the most effective medications aren’t administered properly and aren’t administered in a timely manner,” the doctor says.
He points to the influence of broadcast and print advertising on physicians and on allergy patients. He says the leading antihistamine for many years has been Claritin which is — in his words — “the least effective of all of the antihistamines in common use.” He says it’s marketing that made Claritin such a phenomenal seller, even though it was “barely effective enough” to gain F-D-A approval.
For allergy sufferers, Weinberger suggests seeking a consultation with an allergy expert.