NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Allergy season is running late this year, but patients who suffer the annual runny nose and itching eyes know it’s just a matter of time.
“Patients are just starting to come in the past few days,” said Dr. Jamie Kiehm of ENT & Allergy Associates. “I think the peak is yet to come.”
Kiehm confirms this year is having relatively late allergy season, which is why patients like Barbara Valle haven’t yet had their usual spring misery, reports CBS2’s Dr. Max Gomez.
“I wasn’t able to go outside when the pollen levels were high,” said Valle. “I could instantly notice it: The runny nose, the itchiness, the sneezing non-stop.”
Over the counter remedies offered little relief for Valle. She finally got tested to find out what she’s actually allergic to.
“Trees, dust and ragweed,” she said.
It took weekly allergy shots to finally give her relief.
Kiehm says there several other steps to minimize pollen allergies.
First and least expensive is avoidance.
“Keep your windows closed so the pollen doesn’t come inside your house,” she said. “When you come home at the end of the day, change your clothes, showering before you go to sleep to get all the pollen that’s sticking to you off. And wear sunglasses outside to keep pollen out of your eyes.”
Next step is medications. There are a number of over the counter and prescription remedies that can help.
“Some are even non-drowsy because I know that some people feel that a lot of the medication make them sleepy,” said Kiehm.
Finally, there’s allergy shots. They’re very effective, especially if you start them before the allergy season really revs up.
Allergy shots are what gave Valle relief.
“Now I can actually walk outside and breathe,” she said.
The downside to shots is cost if you don’t have insurance. And inconvenience. You have to go to the doctor’s office for weekly shots, at least until you build up tolerance to whatever you’re allergic to.
There are under the tongue drops that are now approved but only for dust mites, ragweed and grass allergies.