Dramatic swings in the weather are hitting allergy sufferers hard this spring. Dr. Jim Wille, an allergy and asthma specialist in Des Moines, says a combination of factors has increased the amount of mold and pollen.
"We’ve had a late spring, but all of the sudden the tree pollens came out, grasses are just starting and there’s been a fair amount of mold because of the moisture," Wille said. "It’s kind of a three-pronged approach for those people that have allegic problems." Windy weather adds to the problem by carrying the pollen further. Wille says it takes a little bit of work for Iowans to reduce their exposure and limit allergic reactions.
Wille encourages allergy sufferers to limit their outdoor activities, use air conditioning when indoors, and change clothes and take a shower after being outdoors to remove pollen from hair and clothing. Wille says current medications for seasonal allergies can be quite effective.
"There’s better medicines now over-the-counter than ever before. Two of them standout…Clariton and Zyrtec used to be prescription, but they’re very safe and once-a-day," Wille said. Individuals that plan to use over-the-counter allergy medicines – that are already taking other drugs – are encouraged to talk to their pharmacist or doctor to make sure it’s safe.