June 14, 2023

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Photo by Romolo Tavani

Colorado is ranked as one of the worst states for allergies, and the pollen season is in full swing

By Sarah Flower

New research shows Colorado ranks in the Top 20 for states with an allergy problem. Tribal Radio’s Sarah Flower reports on the yellow dust that many southwest Colorado residents have been seeing floating around this time of year and if it’s affecting your allergies.

According to the allergy information website Wyndly, this year, Colorado is ranked the 13th worst state in the US for hay fever. But hay fever isn't what local allergist Dr. Don Cook is seeing an abundance of right now. Dr. Cook says that the yellow dust that we're seeing all over cars and driveways is due to pine pollen. But it isn't the culprit for late spring allergy symptoms.

"The symptoms that are starting now in June are most likely due to grass pollen, pine pollen comes out as a later tree so they kind of overlap. So when people are miserable because they're seeing the pine pollen, it's probably actually the grass pollen. That's what's the culprit." - Dr. Cook

According to Dr. Cook this time of year, we're moving away from tree pollen and into grass pollen. With all the recent moisture in the area. Farmers are likely to be growing a lot of hay and Dr. Cook expects to see a lot of patients with reactions to hay.

"The primary symptoms of what we call allergic rhinitis, are nasal itching, watery nasal drainage, eyes feeling irritated and itchy watering. Sometimes with a lot of nasal congestion, postnasal drainage, you'll get some coughing. Some people have more of an asthmatic component to that too, as well where they they get their chest gets tight and they might wheeze. And so that's all part and parcel of being an allergic person." -Dr. Cook

Dr. Cook says treatment generally starts with over the counter antihistamines, then if that doesn't work, moving on to nasal sprays. But overall, Dr. Cook says that despite the season, people don't have to live in agony with their allergy symptoms.

"I guess her bottom line is I would say people really shouldn't put up with suffering from allergic rhinitis." -Dr. Cook

Dr. Cook is right that there are treatments available, and you don't have to suffer. Here are some tips for managing your allergies:

  • Take over-the-counter antihistamines. These are the most common treatment for allergies, and they can help to relieve symptoms like sneezing, runny nose, and itchy eyes.
  • Use a nasal spray. Nasal sprays can also help to relieve allergy symptoms, and they may be more effective than antihistamines for some people.
  • See an allergist. If your allergies are severe, or if over-the-counter treatments aren't working, you may want to see an allergist. They can help you to identify your allergens and develop a treatment plan that's right for you.
  • Vacuum your home regularly. This will help to remove pollen from your carpets and furniture.
  • Consider getting a HEPA air purifier for your home. This will help to remove pollen from the air in your home.

Here are some additional tips for managing allergies:

  • Avoid being outdoors when pollen counts are high. You can check pollen counts online or by calling your local weather station.
  • Wear a mask when you go outside. This will help to filter out pollen.
  • Close your windows and doors when you're inside. This will help to keep pollen out of your home.
  • Wash your hair and clothes frequently. This will help to remove pollen that may have gotten on you while you were outside.
  • Take a shower or bath before bed. This will help to wash away any pollen that may have gotten on you during the day.
  • Keep your car's air filter clean. This will help to remove pollen from the air inside your car.

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