What Has Happened With the 2019 Pollen Season? (Originally written May 15, 2019)

Shakespeare reportedly said, “All the world’s a stage”.  With that in mind, by now it should be Act Two of the 2019 Pollen Play, but it seems that some of the ‘actors’ have missed their cues.   May is over and usually by this time; the trees would usually be almost done with their allotted time on the pollen ‘stage’, and should be taking a graceful bow.  Grass would typically be in full ‘bloom’ and people would be starting to feel miserable.  This year, however, the winter scenery is still on-stage. (OK enough of the theatrical motif!)

What is happening with Utah’s pollen season?

Utah’s pollen season started out normally with Elm pollen in early March, but with the colder than normal temperatures for much of the spring, several of Utah’s tree pollens have been lower than expected.

Usually, Juniper pollen (comes from Juniper trees – but commonly called ‘Cedar’) is the worst tree pollen we deal with in Utah.  This year, it was much lower than usual, so overall, the early spring pollen season has been less than awful for many.

How will grass pollen be affected this year?

Utah’s grass pollen usually starts to show up in early May, and in a typical year would be high by now.  However, the temperature can affect grass pollination significantly, and we have only seen a few days with high grass pollen this spring.

If the rain ever stops, and the temperatures rise into the low 80’s, we could see intense, dramatic grass pollination.  The last cooler, wetter-than-usual, spring in Utah, was several years ago.  That year, Utah’s grass pollination started in June and persisted well into the last half of July.  We may see the same thing again.

What other Utah pollens should I watch for?

Late summer and fall in Utah is the time for weed pollination.  This generally begins in late July or early August, and peaks about mid-September.  The past few years, we have seen milder fall pollen levels, possibly due to higher than average temps and little rain.  If the cool, wet weather persists into the late summer again, we could see dramatic (for Utah) pollens.  In Utah, our fall pollen season is relatively mild compared to other parts of the country.

In the Intermountain areas, Sagebrush and Russian Thistle usually lead the pack in the fall.  However, in the Midwest, Ragweed is king!  We have significantly less ragweed here, than most places east of the Mississippi, and for that we are grateful!

How can I find out what Utah’s pollen count is?

At Intermountain Allergy and Asthma, we publish Utah pollen count information. Please follow the pollen count by checking our website:  Intermountainallergy.com.  We count the pollen four days a week, Monday through Thursday.  Remember that the pollen count is always delayed 24 hours.  It is collected for a 24-hour period, and then counted and reported the next morning.

If your allergies are milder than usual this year – good for you!  If they get worse (there’s a good chance of that) remember that many allergy medicines work best if used daily.  If you want to get ahead of the pollen allergies that are coming in the next few months or are absolutely miserable, make an appointment with Intermountain Allergy and Asthma and find out what can be done.

Duane J. Harris, MD
Intermountain Allergy & Asthma of Draper

New to Intermountain Allergy and Asthma?

If you suffer from allergies or asthma, now is a great time to consider starting professional treatment.  Dr. Harris and Dr. Anderson accept new asthma patients of all ages and most insurance plans.  If you have questions about insurance coverage, please contact us Intermountain Allergy and Asthma at (801) 553-1900 (Dr. Harris) or (801) 476-0052 (Dr. Anderson) and we will be happy to assist you.

If you don’t have health insurance, we offer a discount and monthly payment options. It is Dr. Harris’ and Anderson’s goal to provide the best medical treatment for their patients while working with patients to keep costs and payments reasonable.

Thank you for allowing us Intermountain Allergy and Asthma to be part of your health care team – we look forward to seeing you!

Utah Spring Brings Flying Insect Sting Allergies

Spring has finally arrived in Utah! Spring weather means gardening, beautiful flowers, and flying insects of the stinging variety! Honey bees start leaving their hives and looking for pollen and nectar at about 54 degrees Fahrenheit.   Wasps, hornets, and yellow jackets may become active between 45-50 degrees Fahrenheit.   You may have noticed they are already out this spring looking for victims!

Each year in the U.S. as many as 225,000 people are seen in the emergency room for flying insect stings and up to 100 people die as the result of insect sting anaphylaxis.  It is possible that the number of deaths from insect stings is significantly underestimated, since many of the deaths may be falsely attributed to heart attacks or other causes if the insect sting wasn’t observed.

Are Flying Insects Aggressive?

At Intermountain Allergy and Asthma, I see many patients that come in for evaluation after a “bee sting”.  However, of all the possible insects that sting, honey bees are probably the least likely to cause problems.  Bees usually ignore nearby people unless the person is close to their hive.  You may need to intentionally annoy a bee in your garden in order for it to pay any attention to you.  Wasps, hornets, and especially yellow jackets are a different matter.  They tend to be much more aggressive than honey bees, and will sometimes go out of their way to sting – even when the person poses no threat to the insect or to their nest.

Are Flying Insect Stings Dangerous?

Most single insect stings, while painful, are not at all dangerous.  A fairly large area of swelling, redness, and itching is common and does not indicate that the person has a significant “allergy” to the insect.  Even a very large local reaction (i.e., sting on the finger with swelling to the elbow) may be nothing but a giant nuisance.

However, reactions distant from the site of the sting can indicate a much more severe problem and need to be evaluated.  These symptoms are:

  • Swelling in the throat
  • Chest tightness
  • Head-to-toe hives
  • Significant stomach or intestinal problems

A particularly concerning symptom after an insect sting is light headedness, dizziness, or loss of consciousness.  These symptoms indicate a dangerous, potentially life-threatening, reaction to the sting.

What Should I Do If I Am Stung By a Flying Insect?

Anyone with a potentially dangerous insect sting reaction should be evaluated by an allergist, and should carry an epinephrine injector when outside.   These people can be tested to determine what the actual stinging insect culprit was and then can be desensitized to the venom.  The desensitization process can be a bit of a commitment in time, but it almost always works very well.  Venom desensitizing is one of the most effective things that allergists do.

Milder stings can be treated with cool or cold compresses, hydro-cortisone cream, and oral antihistamines for itch.  Definitely check for an embedded stinger (much more common with bee stings than other insects) and remove it before doing anything else.

How Can I Avoid Flying Insect Stings?

All people with any level of insect sensitivity should try to avoid getting stung in the first place – but this can be a challenge.  Insect repellents don’t seem to help much.  Some people feel that wearing brightly colored clothing attracts flying insects, but not all agree.

Something that does seem to help includes simply staying indoors if there are obvious numbers of insects flying about (but of course that’s not a lot of fun on a nice summer day).  Also, be careful around garbage cans or garbage piles where food has been thrown away and be very cautious drinking sugared or flavored drinks in the summer.  Proteins and sugar can and do attract the little critters.

Enjoy the spring and upcoming summer, but stay alert and “bee vigilant” for stinging insects. If you want to prepare for potential allergic reactions to flying insect stings, make an appointment to see your allergist.

Duane J. Harris M.D.
Intermountain Allergy and Asthma of Draper

New to Intermountain Allergy and Asthma?

If you suffer from spring pollen allergies or a stinging insect allergy, now is a great time to consider starting professional allergy treatment.  Dr. Harris and Dr. Anderson accept new allergy patients of all ages and most insurance plans.  If you have questions about insurance coverage, please contact us Intermountain Allergy and Asthma at (801) 553-1900 (Dr. Harris) or (801) 476-0052 (Dr. Anderson) and we will be happy to assist you.

If you don’t have health insurance, we offer a discount and monthly payment options. It is Dr. Harris’ and Dr. Anderson’s goal to provide the best medical treatment for their patients while working with patients to keep costs and payments reasonable.

Thank you for allowing us Intermountain Allergy and Asthma to be part of your health care team – we look forward to seeing you!

Asthma Season: 4 Steps to Improve Asthma Control

The peak time for asthma symptoms in northern Utah is usually late December thru mid-February.  That’s because three things in winter can worsen asthma:

1. Cold, dry air

2. Poor air quality (an inversion)

3. Viral infections

Since we have an abundance of these three things in Utah during the winter, right now tends to be the worst time of year for asthma.

If you have asthma, there are four things that you should be doing to keep asthma symptoms under control and potentially prevent asthma attacks:

Asthma Control Tip 1: Exercise indoors. I know, I know – running or walking on a treadmill is not nearly as enjoyable as running or walking outside.  However, aerobic exercise in the cold, winter air frequently brings on exercise-induced asthma in those who are at all susceptible to it.  This applies even more so if we have a winter inversion in place!  This last summer, I saw many patients who were having breathing problems because of the smoke in the air.  As bad as the smoke from forest fires was or can be, the trapped car exhaust and other pollutants in an inversion is usually worse.  Your lungs will thank you if you get a membership at the local gym and exercise inside until after Valentine’s Day. 

Asthma Control Tip 2: Make sure that you are taking any regular, preventive asthma medicines daily.  The best medicines for asthma are the daily, preventive ones. They all take a while to ‘kick in’ and have full effect.  Preventative asthma medications can eventually help if you want to wait and start using them daily at the first sign of problems, but they work best if you are already using them consistently before problems arise.  If your asthma prescriptions need refilling – now is the time to see your physician and get new ones.  If you are one of the ‘lucky’ patients with asthma who usually don’t have problems in the winter, at least make sure you have your asthma medications on hand – even if you aren’t using them regularly.  This includes the fast acting ‘rescue’ medicine albuterol.

Asthma Control Tip 3: See your doctor.  If it has been a while since you’ve seen your asthma doctor and had a physical exam and spirometry (pulmonary function tests) done, make an appointment. Many people with asthma are unaware of just how bad their asthma is until things get really bad.  If your asthma gets worse gradually, you may not notice that you’re doing worse, and what should be bothering you can feel like ‘normal’.  This is a very common problem in patients with asthma.  Being worse and unaware at the same time is more likely in the winter.  So, if it’s been a while since you were seen, call your asthma doctor and make an appointment.  Call today – right now!

Asthma Control Tip 4: Buy a condo in Hawaii and live there from December thru February!  Aloha! This way you get to experience a little snow here at the end of the year, and then come back just as the trees and flowers are starting to bloom.  Perfect.  Just in time to be seen for your spring allergies…..

Duane J. Harris M.D.
Intermountain Allergy & Asthma of Draper

New to Intermountain Allergy and Asthma?

If you suffer from asthma, now is a great time to consider starting professional asthma treatment.  Dr. Harris and Dr. Anderson accept new asthma patients of all ages and most insurance plans.  If you have questions about insurance coverage, please contact us Intermountain Allergy and Asthma at (801) 553-1900 (Dr. Harris) or (801) 476-0052 (Dr. Anderson) and we will be happy to assist you. 

If you don’t have health insurance, we offer a discount and monthly payment options. It is Dr. Harris’ and Anderson’s goal to provide the best medical treatment for their patients while working with patients to keep costs and payments reasonable. 

Thank you for allowing us Intermountain Allergy and Asthma to be part of your health care team – we look forward to seeing you!

Where there’s Smoke, There’s Asthma

I wanted to make some observations and suggestions about the smoke that has been such a big problem this summer.

We always expect to see quite a few patients with asthma or bronchitis worsened by the winter inversions that we get each year – but we don’t typically see many people with smoke-related worsening.  This year has definitely been different!  We have been treating patients who are short-of breath, coughing, and wheezing this summer (many more than normal) – almost certainly due to the smoke.

Smoke acts primarily as an irritant in worsening breathing and can also bother the throat, the nose, and the eyes.  In general, asthma that is worse because of an irritant can be harder to treat, and may respond less well to medications, than asthma that is worse because of an allergy — i.e. being around a cat you’re allergic to.  That is what we have seen this summer – people getting less than expected results from their medications.  Several patients who were taking their medications faithfully noticed increased symptoms and have needed to increase the dose of their daily inhalers, while others have needed a few days of oral steroids to get things under control.  It feels like we have had the awful winter inversions with us all summer.

Hopefully, the smoke from local fires will be gone soon.  If not, what to do?

Smoke Avoidance Tip 1: Avoid the smoke as much as possible.  Keep doors and windows closed 24/7.  Exercise inside, not outdoors if you can, or wait for relatively ‘clean’ air days to work-out outside.  Postpone yard work until the air is a bit better if you can.

Smoke Avoidance Tip 2: If you are taking asthma meds, make sure you are taking them regularly as directed.  Many adults can stop their asthma inhalers during the summer months – maybe not this year?  If you are taking your meds appropriately, but still having problems, you may need to increase the dose, or change medications entirely.  Some may need oral steroids to get things under control initially.  If you are struggling, but don’t use any asthma meds, it is time to see your doctor.

Smoke Avoidance Tip 3:  Remember that coughing may be due to chest irritation, or due to post-nasal drainage from an irritated nose or throat (or both).  In addition to asthma meds, you may benefit from regular nasal sprays, throat lozenges, and even gargling with saline.

Smoke Avoidance Tip 4: You may do better if you wear a face mask while outside.  I say ‘may do better’ because it makes a big difference what type of mask you use.  A cheap, poorly fitting mask may do little, while a more expensive, correctly fitted mask could help a lot.  See this recent (brief) report on face masks and air pollution.

Smoke Avoidance Tip 5: This may the right time to talk to the financial advisor and see if there is money for a small cottage in the Alps?  Or Hawaii?  Anywhere that the air quality is better!

Smoke Avoidance Tip 6: Pray for rain! 

Good luck dealing with our air quality.  Keep in mind that although smoke from local fires has diminished, it still may occur this fall and will most certainly be present next year. Please let us know if we can help.

Duane J. Harris M.D.
Intermountain Allergy and Asthma of Draper

New to Intermountain Allergy and Asthma?

If you suffer from allergies and have never seen an allergist, now is a great time to consider starting professional allergy treatment.  Dr. Harris and Dr. Anderson accept new allergy patients of all ages and most insurance plans.  If you have questions about insurance coverage, please contact Intermountain Allergy and Asthma at (801) 553-1900 (Dr. Harris) or (801) 476-0052 (Dr. Anderson) and we will be happy to assist you.

Please bookmark our web page “Intermountainallergy.com” or follow our Facebook page “Intermountain Allergy and Asthma – Draper, UT” to keep up on the tips about allergies and asthma.

 

Allergy Myths 101: Animal Allergies

There are many old wives tales or popular myths about how a person can treat their allergies.  Here at Intermountain Allergy and Asthma, we have heard them all!  As a way to help dispel allergy myths, we’ve invited Dr. Harris to share a few his thoughts in our “Allergy Myths 101” blog posts.

Two popular animal allergy myths that we hear frequently are:

  1. “The new dog couldn’t be causing my current problems because it doesn’t shed”
  2. “I grew up with animals, so I won’t be allergic to them now”

Animal allergies are a significant part of what the typical allergist deals with on a daily basis.  Here are some facts about animal allergies and suggestions to help keep symptoms under control.

Animal Allergy Fact 1: Shedding – the vast majority of the time, the animal allergens that cause problems are from the dander (tiny skin particles or flakes – think dandruff in humans), or in the animal’s saliva.  The hair or fur has little or nothing to do with it.  It may be true that a long haired cat or dog could ‘hold – on’ to more dander in the fur than a short haired animal, but whether the fur stays on the pet or is shed doesn’t matter.  All furry/haired pets have dander because they all have skin.

Animal Allergy Fact 2: Pet Saliva There are proteins in pet saliva that can cause allergies.  Some people first know that they are allergic to dogs when they get hives (welts) after being licked by the animal.  Also, cats groom themselves by licking their fur.  When you pet a cat, then rub your eyes ……  cat ‘spit’ in the eye.  Yech! 

Animal Allergy Fact 3: Exposure to animals in the past:  People develop allergies to new things all the time — including animals, plants, and foods — that they weren’t sensitive to in the past.   Tolerating pets in the past doesn’t mean that you are ‘immune’ now.

More importantly, studies have shown that some people can develop a modest amount of clinical tolerance to an animal that they are around all the time.  The allergy skin tests are still positive, but the patient’s symptoms are subdued somewhat.  In many other cases, patients become accustomed to their allergy symptoms and just ignore them, even though they are as bad as ever.  These patients can then be miserable if they leave home for a while (school, marriage, work, world travel), and then return home, or if they decide to get a new pet after years of having none.  

Animal Allergy Solutions

There are some things you can do to decrease an animal’s potential to cause allergies:  Studies have shown that frequent washing, or rinsing an animal can, in some cases, lessen the dander that is deposited around the house.  Also, keeping an indoor animal out of the bedroom, off of the bed and off any fabric-covered furniture could help as well.

Measures that can actually decrease animal allergy problems:

  • Keep furry or feathered pets outside 24/7 when conditions allow (Nobody wants to do this!)
  • If indoors, keep pets off the beds and furniture
  • Wash/rinse pets weekly
  • Get a small animal. Toy poodles should produce less dander than Great Danes
  • Keep the animal’s pelt in good condition. Treat any eczema
  • Use a HEPA air filter in your personal room – or just use good furnace filters and change them frequently (less expensive and probably just as effective)

Animal fact: Cat dander can remain suspended in the air for long periods of time after the cat has left the room.  Cat allergic people can often tell that a cat lives in a home without ever seeing the pet.

Duane J. Harris M.D.
Intermountain Allergy and Asthma of Draper

New to Intermountain Allergy and Asthma?

If you suffer from allergies and have never seen an allergist, now is a great time to consider starting professional allergy treatment.  Dr. Harris and Dr. Anderson accept new allergy patients of all ages and most insurance plans.  If you have questions about insurance coverage, please contact Intermountain Allergy and Asthma at (801) 553-1900 (Dr. Harris) or (801) 476-0052 (Dr. Anderson) and we will be happy to assist you.

Please follow our web page “Intermountainallergy.com” or Facebook page “Intermountain Allergy and Asthma – Draper, UT”, for the daily pollen count.

Thank you for allowing Intermountain Allergy and Asthma to be part of your health care team – we look forward to seeing you!

Allergy Myths 101: Iodine Allergy

There are many old wives tales or popular myths about how a person can treat their allergies. Here at Intermountain Allergy and Asthma, we have heard them all! As a way to help dispel allergy myths, we’ve invited Dr. Harris to share a few his thoughts in our “Allergy Myths 101” blog posts. 

Here is a popular allergy myth: There are cross-reactions between seafood and iodinated contrast (x-ray contrast dye) caused by “Iodine allergy”. 

What is Iodinated Contrast?

“Iodinated contrast is a form of intravenous radiocontrast (radiographic dye) containing iodine, which enhances the visibility of vascular structures and organs during radiographic procedures. Some pathologies, such as cancer, have particularly improved visibility with iodinated contrast” – Wikipedia.

It is true that some people have allergy-like reactions if they are given iodinated contrast dye during an x-ray procedure, and of course there are many people that have life-threatening allergic reactions after eating fish or shellfish.  However, the truth is that there is no connection between these two types of reactions and no ‘allergy’ relationship at all between seafood and radiologic contrast dyes.

I suspect that this allergy myth got started because radiology dyes and seawater/ seafood both contain iodine.

It isn’t clear why some people react when they are given iodinated contrast dyes, but we do know that it isn’t a true “allergy” to the dye (or to iodine) in the vast majority of cases.  It may be that the iodinated contrast dyes can affect the osmolality (the balance between water and electrolytes) in allergy cells and thus cause the cells to release their active contents.

During a true allergic reaction (such as with a fish or shrimp sensitivity), the immune system is involved and ‘allergic’ antibodies recognize a substance that we are sensitive to, and they (the antibodies) cause the release of active chemicals.  The immune system isn’t involved in most iodinated contrast dye reactions.  The reactions look the same, but take place for very different reasons.

What about people who have terrible reactions to seafood, and then get hives during an x-ray when iodinated contrast was used?

Those people do exist, but that is probably an example of someone who has two common problems at the same time – purely coincidental.  Someone who is allergic to fish is not at dramatically greater risk than anyone else to have a reaction during an x-ray procedure.  Someone who has a reaction to contrast dyes has about the same risk as everyone else to develop a seafood allergy.

Neither a reaction to contrast dyes nor a seafood allergy will cause any problems when consuming iodinated salt in food.

Duane J. Harris M.D.
Intermountain Allergy and Asthma of Draper

A Tip from Dr. Harris

By the way – We all need a little iodine in our diet for proper thyroid function.

New to Intermountain Allergy and Asthma?

If you suffer from allergies and have never seen an allergist, now is a great time to consider starting professional allergy treatment.  Dr. Harris and Dr. Anderson accept new allergy patients of all ages and most insurance plans.  If you have questions about insurance coverage, please contact Intermountain Allergy and Asthma at (801) 553-1900 (Dr. Harris) or (801) 476-0052 (Dr. Anderson) and we will be happy to assist you.

Please follow our web page “Intermountainallergy.com” or Facebook page “Intermountain Allergy and Asthma – Draper, UT”, for the daily pollen count.

Thank you for allowing Intermountain Allergy and Asthma to be part of your health care team – we look forward to seeing you!

Allergy Myths 101: Unfiltered Local Honey

There are many old wives tales or popular myths about how a person can treat their allergies. Here at Intermountain Allergy and Asthma, we have heard them all! As a way to help dispel allergy myths, we’ve invited Dr. Harris to share a few of his thoughts in our “Allergy Myths 101” blog posts. We hope you’ll read this and read future 101 posts. Dr. Harris, take it away!

Here is a popular allergy myth: Eating unfiltered local honey will help control allergies.

I want to start this by saying that I love unfiltered “raw” honey.  I personally eat a lot of honey (sometimes by the spoonful), but I don’t recommend it for allergies.

There are two reasons that local honey is unlikely to be helpful with seasonal allergies:

Local Honey Allergy Myth Reason 1: The pollen that is found in honey is generally not the pollen that is causing your allergies.  Bees are attracted to bright, colorful, and fragrant plants (such as roses or lilacs), but pollen from those plants usually doesn’t cause nose and eye symptoms.  Most of the time, the pollen types that make us miserable in the spring and fall comes from drab, un-colored plants, with no noticeable fragrance (such as the grass in your front lawn, or ragweed).  These are the plants that bees usually ignore.  Ingesting the wrong pollen simply isn’t going to make a difference.

Local Honey Allergy Myth Reason 2: When we eat pollen-containing honey, the pollen proteins are very likely destroyed, or at least significantly altered by stomach acid and other digestive enzymes so that any allergy potential they may have had is eliminated.

If you could somehow put honey with the ‘correct’ pollen in it under the tongue (where a portion is absorbed directly into the blood stream) it might be effective.  Believe me though, it would take a lot of honey to do any good.

So – by all means enjoy the flavor of raw, local honey, but use tested and proven medicines and treatments to take care of allergies.

Duane J. Harris M.D.
Intermountain Allergy and Asthma
Draper, Utah

A Local Raw Honey Tip from Dr. Harris

An interesting taste test is to compare ‘raw’, unfiltered honey and commercial honey from your local store (it’s important that the raw honey hasn’t been heated at all or this may not work).  A friend who produces honey told me about this and I could definitely taste a difference (I loved the ‘raw’ honey).  Apparently, any significant heating can change the flavor – so you get the best, most ‘natural’ flavor by consuming the honey before it crystallizes and needs to be heated or ‘melted’.

New to Intermountain Allergy and Asthma?

If you suffer from allergies and have never seen an allergist, now is a great time to consider starting professional allergy treatment.  Dr. Harris and Dr. Anderson accept new allergy patients of all ages and most insurance plans.  If you have questions about insurance coverage, please contact Intermountain Allergy and Asthma at (801) 553-1900 (Dr. Harris) or (801) 476-0052 (Dr. Anderson) and we will be happy to assist you.

Please follow our web page “Intermountainallergy.com” or Facebook page “Intermountain Allergy and Asthma – Draper, UT”, for the daily pollen count.

Thank you for allowing Intermountain Allergy and Asthma to be part of your health care team – we look forward to seeing you!

Seasonal Allergic Conjunctivitis: Pollen Allergies in the Eyes

We are fast approaching the most common time of the year for allergic problems in the eyes.  Seasonal Allergic Conjunctivitis (SAR) can occur anytime there is pollen in the air, however, for many allergy sufferers, grass pollen is more likely to cause bothersome eye symptoms than other types of pollen.  Most of the common grasses in northern and central Utah start to pollinate in late spring — when the daytime temps are in the 70’s or low 80’s.  It’s right around the corner!

What are symptoms of Seasonal Allergic Conjunctivitis (SAR)?

Symptoms of SAR include redness, tearing, and itching in both eyes, and coincide with nasal symptoms in most patients.  A number of allergy medications can (and do) help with the eyes:  antihistamines can help to some degree, as do the daily nasal sprays.  For those really bad eye days though, you’ll need eye drops in addition.   It’s OK to use antihistamines, nasal sprays, and eye drops at the same time – they won’t interfere with each other or cause unexpected side effects when used together.

If your eyes are itching somewhat, but burning, ‘grittiness’, pain, or redness are the main problems, you may have something else going on in addition to simple eye allergies.  Itching is generally the thing that patients with eye allergies complain about the most—and of course it’s often the hardest thing to control.  Rubbing an allergic eye will almost always make the itching worse – (but OH it’s tough not to rub and scratch!)  For children especially, it is just not realistic to think that they can resist the urge to rub their eyes.

How can I treat symptoms of Seasonal Allergic Conjunctivitis (SAR)?

There are a number of good over the counter (OTC) eye drops available, that will work for mild or moderate allergy symptoms.  However, be aware that some of the OTC drops are meant to be used sparingly, and can actually cause more problems in the eyes if used daily for extended periods of time.  Also, most OTC drops burn or sting for a few minutes after being used, and are not very kid friendly.  If you think that you or family members may need eye drops for much of this pollen allergy season, get in to see an Intermountain Allergy and Asthma allergist now and ask for prescription drops that can be used long term, and will be easier to use in children.

There are some types of allergic eye disease that can be quite severe, and if not treated appropriately can even affect vision long term.  If your eye symptoms are not adequately controlled with OTC meds, or if your prescription meds are not enough, make sure you let your doctor know!

Finally for those patients with significant nasal and eye allergies, and for whom medications are not enough:  allergy ‘desensitization’ shots can be very helpful with eye allergies, regardless of the type of pollen causing the problem.  Talk with an Intermountain Allergy and Asthma allergist and see if this may be a good form of treatment for you.

New to Intermountain Allergy and Asthma?

If you suffer from allergies and have never seen an allergist, now is a great time to consider starting professional allergy treatment.  Dr. Harris and Dr. Anderson accept new allergy patients of all ages and most insurance plans.  If you have questions about insurance coverage, please contact Intermountain Allergy and Asthma at (801) 553-1900 (Dr. Harris) or (801) 476-0052 (Dr. Anderson) and we will be happy to assist you.

Please follow our web page “Intermountainallergy.com” or Facebook page “Intermountain Allergy and Asthma – Draper, UT”, for the daily pollen count.  My prediction is that we will see grass really start to climb in the next two weeks, and tree pollen will start to decline.

Thank you for allowing Intermountain Allergy and Asthma to be part of your health care team – we look forward to seeing you!

2018: Expect Early Pollen Season this Year

Those with spring allergies should be prepared for the onset of symptoms at any time!

Early spring is the time that the trees pollinate. If you have early or mid-spring allergies, it is most likely due to tree pollen.  In a typical year, this pollination starts in late February or early March.  In past years, when there has been a mid-January thaw, we have occasionally noticed tree pollen starting earlier, in mid-February, sometime after things have thoroughly frozen again, and with snow on the ground.  This year, there wasn’t just a mid-January thaw, but almost an entire January thaw — we expect to see early pollen. 

Pollen Count Check

At Intermountain Allergy and Asthma, we will start checking for pollen at the latest by the 12th of February.  The first tree pollen that we expect to see is Elm, followed quickly by Cottonwood, and then a wide variety of assorted tree pollens.  In a ‘typical’ spring, the tree pollen season will be at its peak from late March through mid-April, but that can be quite variable.  Be aware that the trees from the St. George (Southern Utah) area may start pollinating several weeks earlier than in Northern Utah. Those who like to go to Utah’s Dixie in the early spring may have significant problems with trees or plants that are not active yet in this area. 

When Should I Start Taking My Allergy Medication or Seek Treatment?

For those with spring allergies, we recommend having allergy medicines on hand, and consider starting them now.  Some medicines (nasal steroids) take several days or even a few weeks to reach full effect.  Don’t wait until your allergy symptoms are full blown and you are miserable to start using them.  If you use any prescription allergy medications, now is the time to get in to see your allergist for refills.  Once the allergy season is here in full force, it gets very busy here at Intermountain Allergy and Asthma and it can take longer to be seen.  If you are an allergy patient of Dr. Harris in Draper, please call (801) 553-1900 to schedule an appointment.  If you are an allergy patient of Dr. Anderson in Ogden, please call (801) 476-0052 to schedule an appointment. 

New to Intermountain Allergy and Asthma?

If you suffer from allergies and have never seen an allergist, now is a great time to consider starting professional allergy treatment.  Dr. Harris and Dr. Anderson accept new allergy patients of all ages and most insurance plans. If you have questions about insurance coverage, please contact Intermountain Allergy and Asthma at (801) 553-1900 (Dr. Harris) or (801) 476-0052 (Dr. Anderson) and we will be happy to assist you.

We are aware that the insurance plans currently offered in the health care market have high deductibles and patients pay more money out-of-pocket for medical care than ever before.  Intermountain Allergy and Asthma offers monthly payment options for balances that insurance doesn’t cover.  If you don’t have insurance we offer a 20% discount and monthly payment options. It is Intermountain Allergy and Asthma’s goal to provide the best medical treatment for Dr. Harris’ and Anderson’s patients while working with insurance companies and patients to keep costs and payments reasonable.

Thank you for allowing Intermountain Allergy and Asthma to be part of your health care team – we look forward to seeing you!

Check our website regularly – intermountainallergy.com – we will start posting the pollen count as soon as we see significant amounts of pollen.

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