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Dr. Jackie on The Washington Post: Tree Pollen kicks off Washington’s Allergy Season

Tree Pollen kicks off Washington’s Allergy Season

By Carolyn Butler, Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Washington_Post_logoAh, springtime in Washington, with its glorious weather and plethora of wide open green spaces, all the better for us to enjoy the blossoming trees, blooming flowers — and the copious amounts of pollen that come along with them.This year, Washington ranks 43rd out of the 100 most challenging places to live with allergies, well behind Knoxville, Tenn., which claimed the top spot, followed by Louisville, Chattanooga, Tenn., and Dayton, Ohio. The ranking analyzes three factors — the amount of grass, tree and weed pollens and mold spores; patients’ usage of allergy medicines; and the number of allergy specialists in an area — and basically measures the quality of life for allergy sufferers.Washington “does have a very high pollen count this time of year,” says Mike Tringale, director of external affairs for the AAFA, which is based in Landover, even if it’s not one of the worst on the 100-worst list.

What makes things worse is that even before tree season ends, the grass pollens and even some early flowering weeds begin emerging in April, May and June.

“We have that double-whammy, overlapping allergy of tree and grass,” says Gaithersburg allergist Jackie Eghrari-Sabet. She adds that the diverse array of vegetation here just below the Mason-Dixon line, and the fact that we live in “dust mite nirvana” — yes, we’ve got that perennial allergen, too, which thrives in humidity, old houses and other features of our fair, built-on-marshland city — can make life a misery for those with allergies.

But whether you’re still debating if all those sudden sniffles and sneezes are just a cold or are pollen-related, or if you are an allergy sufferer holding out hope that somehow this spring is going to take it easy on you, it may serve you well to be more proactive, says Eghrari-Sabet, rather than wait to see what happens with pollen counts.

“Everyone always says this is going to be the worst year for allergies ever, but the thing is, it doesn’t really matter,” says Eghrari-Sabet who also recommends taking preventative steps to eliminate dust mites from your home and allergy shots for those who are really suffering “No matter what kind of year it is, there is always more than enough pollen to go around and share here in Washington.”

View Complete Article on The Washington Post

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