Allergies especially bad this year, experts say
JANESVILLE Allergies are packing a stronger, more persistent punch this summer, experts say.
For those who suffer, this year has been “terrible,” said Dr. Tad Johnson, allergist at Mercy Clinic East in Janesville.
“It all started in March and that warm weather, all the tree pollen came out,” Johnson said.
The dry heat of July led to higher concentrations of certain types of mold. Dr. John T. Kelly, an allergist at the Dean Clinic in Madison, said Alternaria, a type of soil mold, is growing exceptionally well this summer. That has landed several people in his office with wheezing, coughing, itching skin, itchy eyes and congestion, he said.
“I suffer from allergies every year, but usually only in the spring,” said allergy sufferer Jason Tiffany of Janesville. “I have had them non-stop from then until now. In fact, they started early with that freakishly warm weather we had at the tail end of winter and they just haven’t relented.”
An especially unwelcome date for people suffering from allergies is Aug. 15—when ragweed starts pollinating. The ragweed allergy season will continue unabated until a killing freeze takes place.
Johnson said he’s already seen patients with severe allergies, runny itchy eyes, bloodshot eyes, and irritated skin brought about by ragweed.
Kelly said by the time patients come to see him they’ve already tried a litany of over-the-counter medicines, so he generally steps them up to nasal sprays.
“Unfortunately, if you wait until allergies are really bad, it can be difficult to treat them,” Kelly said. “It’s better to do the sprays before things are going to get too bad.”
Steroidal treatments also are an option, but not a commonly employed one.
“It’s a really big gun to use,” Kelly said.
Johnson said some of his patients turn to allergy shots for relief of their symptoms. The regimen begins with weekly shots, which continue until the medicine takes hold—usually three to six months.
“The average person is on shots for four to five years so it’s a commitment, but it’s effective,” he said.