After a couple of teases in February, the weather is taking a turn and look more like spring. But a mild winter brings more than nice weather and an early spring.
It makes for a much more intense allergy season.
Allergies of all kinds are something that University of Kansas senior Franki Lane knows all too well.
“Off the top of my head, I’m allergic to grass, different kinds of trees, mold, dust mites, cats, dogs, pollen, weeds,” Lane said. “I haven’t been able to mow the lawn probably since middle school.”
Since sixth grade, Lane has struggled with the full spectrum of allergies. She gets weekly allergy shots due to the severity of her hay fever and pairs that with taking daily allergy pills and nasal spray.
“This time of year is especially difficult for me,” Lane said. “It’s like everything is just kicking off.”
According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, Lane is most certainly not alone. Researchers think nasal allergies affect about 50 million people in the U.S, and they are increasing each year with global warming.
Allergies, or hay fever, is the fifth-leading chronic disease for adults and the third-leading chronic disease in children. The only way to treat what most do not consider a disease is by prevention or treatment of symptoms, as there is no cure for allergies.
To top it all off, in 2010, the AAFA stated Americans spent nearly $17.5 billion due to allergies.
Dr. Ronald Weiner of Asthma and Allergy Associates in Lawrence said allergy seasons are almost a calendar year.
“Tree pollen peaks in March and April, so when we have a milder winter the tree pollen can start a little sooner and be a little more intense,” Weiner said. “The other seasonal allergies are grass pollen in May and June, peaking around Memorial Day; and weed pollen in August and September, peaking around Labor Day.”
Weiner says the best possible treatment for allergies is a cortizone nasal spray like the one Lane uses, and recommends anyone suffering from allergy-like symptoms be tested for a specific reaction.
“With allergy skin tests, in an inexpensive way you can know in 15 minutes what you’re allergic to,” Weiner said.
Weiner also added that inspecting the environment can also be a helpful step in allergy prevention, with something as simple as changing a cheap air filter monthly making a world of a difference.