ST. LOUIS — While spring storms get comprehensive coverage during weather casts, a close look at local allergy indexes make the thunder and lightning seem downright puny.
|Raymond Slavin, M.D. keeps a box of tissues handy for patients suffering from allergies.|
Those who struggle with asthma and allergies are already dealing with staggering amounts of pollen. According to SLUCare allergist, Raymond Slavin, M.D., it’s going to get a whole lot worse.
“In my 44-years in St. Louis, I have never seen a more severe tree pollen season,” said Slavin, who is also a professor of internal medicine at Saint Louis University School of Medicine. “Patients with tree sensitivity may be experiencing itchy eyes, nasal stuffiness and runny noses. Those with asthma may have increased cough and shortness of breath.”
Slavin attributes the deluge of discomfort to the relatively warm spring temperatures. The St. Louis area has not had a hard freeze since late February. Early spring freezes typically help space out the blooming of trees depending on the hardiness of the variety. This year, everything is blooming at once.
Slavin says he has been seeing a tidal wave of patients who are grappling with allergies. He expects to get even busier since the tree pollen season runs through mid-May. Coughing, runny noses and itchy eyes are all symptoms sufferers endure.
“I have written multiple prescriptions of cortisone eye-drops for patients suffering from severe allergic reactions,” said Slavin. “I simply have never had to prescribe that level of treatment, to that many people in one season.”
In addition to medication, Slavin recommends that closing windows and doors to limit exposure, changing filters on air conditioning units, driving with the windows up and minimizing certain outdoor activities. Pet owners are also recommended to regularly clean their houses to control allergens that pets pick up outdoors.