After one of Iowa’s warmest winters on record with scattered 50- and 60-degree days, one health advisor says he’s seeing clear indicators of an early start to allergy season. Spring is still several weeks away but Urbandale pharmacist John Forbes says quite a few people are coming in to his drug store with what appears to be cold or flu-like symptoms — but they’re actually spring allergies.
Forbes says he’s telling customers to get over-the-counter antihistamines, a non-sedating type which allows them to go to work and function normally without being sleepy. With the intermittent appearances of warm weather, he says pollen counts have risen, as have the number of allergy sufferers.
Forbes recommends people consider all of their symptoms before spending money on the wrong kind of treatment. Forbes says the best way to distinguish between hay fever and a cold or flu is that with hay fever, you’ll have sneezing, watery eyes and a runny nose with a thin watery discharge, but with a cold, the discharge may be yellow or green and may be accompanied by a fever, while the flu may also come with aches and pains.
Forbes says about 20-percent of Iowans have allergies and the symptoms are already appearing. He says the allergy season seems to have ramped up earlier this year due to the warmer weather we’ve had. Forbes says people have also been complaining of indoor allergies due to things like dust mites inside the house. He recommends changing your furnace filters monthly to help cut down on dust.