Seasonal allergy sufferers on the rise

Seasonal allergy sufferers on the rise
For a seasonal allergy sufferer, the sight of increasing numbers of combines working in the corn and bean fields spells long days of watery eyes and sneezing.
Machines that cut down the crops break open the tassels on the tops of corn stalks. The resulting dust clouds consist of mostly dried pollen and as the dust is inhaled it irritates the respiratory tracts of those who are allergic to corn pollen.
Though the harvesting of crops helps usher in the fall season every year, it also ushers in a season of misery that, for some people, doesn’t go away until the last pod is popped.
“The harvest season kicks allergies into high gear and this brings on all sorts of symptoms from sneezing to head congestion,” Jack Baltz, a nurse practitioner at Martin Specialty Clinic, said.
Those with chronic allergies often find symptoms worsening and a secondary sinus infection can possibly by contracted on top of the allergies as mucosal membranes are “stirred up” and irritated and bacterial infections set in.
“The key is, if you have allergies, a daily antihistamine should be taken. As soon as you feel congestion coming on, add a decongestant and double your water intake to flush out your system,” Baltz advised.
If allergies progress to the point of a person’s running a fever or producing yellowish mucous for longer than a week, antibiotics will be needed.
According to Baltz, school-age children are still dealing with strep throat and as temperatures begin to drop and summer begins to fade, people will start to stay inside more, coughs and colds will be incubated in closer quarters and increasing inactivity will usher in the winter season – a season just the opposite of the trauma season that occurs during the summer.
Seasonal flu becomes prevalent in late November and runs its course through late March, but in this area, Baltz admits he typically sees most cases between February and March.
“Between five and 20 percent of the population acquires the flu annually and about 200,000 people are hospitalized from flu-related complications,” Baltz reported.
He urged people to get flu shots now, as they should last for the duration of the flu season.
Until then, in warding away everything from allergies to colds to strep throat to any type of germs that circulate in the air, Baltz stressed the importance of continuing simple practices of prevention.
“It all goes back to hand washing,” he admitted.
“And sneezing into an elbow rather than a hand.”
Press Staff Writer Sara Rachels may be contacted by email at sararachels@nwtntoday.com.

WCP 9.27.11

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