Allergy expert predicts difficult pollen season for eastern Idaho

Local doctor predicts difficult allergy season

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho - If you're one of the tens of millions of seasonal allergy sufferers nationwide, you may have noticed a little something in the air today as the pollen count in eastern Idaho reached high levels.

Dr. Gene Petty has seen a surge of patients at Idaho Allergy & Asthma in Idaho Falls, all while managing his own seasonal symptoms.

"The spring (allergy) season in Idaho starts about the middle of March," Petty said.  "A lot of people have trouble with the ground molds that appear when the snow melts, but worse than that is the airborne tree pollen."
Tree season ends around late April.  Then comes grass season, which Petty said is going to be a bad one.

"We've had the rains that have been timely for the tree pollen, and if they are as timely for the grass season, it portends to be a heavy season," Petty said.
Petty said mowing the lawn can be a simple solution.

"The edge of the grass, along the ditch bank and where you weed-whack and that taller grass that puts out the pollen," Petty said.

Many allergy sufferers know a manicured yard won't always do the trick.

"Two of our better antihistamines, Zyrtec and Claritin, are over-the-counter, so I've been having my patients combine the two together," Petty said.

If that doesn't work, Petty said it's time to get skin-tested -- a series of pricks will literally allow the doctor to pinpoint what's making you sick and look into prescription remedies or a series of allergy shots.

Petty does not recommend using Benadryl to relieve allergy symptoms.  The drug's active ingredient causes drowsiness, which could make for dangerous driving conditions.

It's always a good idea to consult a doctor before you put yourself on a treatment plan.

Pollen levels are expected to increase throughout the week into the "very high" category.

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