SPRINGFIELD, Mo. For some allergy sufferers in the Ozarks, it seems like allergy season came early this year. It’s not even March, but trees are budding, flowers are blooming and pollen is in the air.
Thomas Brentlinger says, “I’ve never been hit this hard in February before.”
He says allergies have been such a struggle for him this year, he’s even missed a couple days of work.
“I do not like allergies, and they do not like me. We have a hate-hate relationship,” he laughed, “Normally I just live with them, but this year, it’s really bad. It’s been worse this year than it has been the last few years.”
He says it’s tough to stay inside when it’s nice out, but after a few hours, the allergies get the best of him.
“I’ll get pure exhaustion. But mostly it’s just with the nasal cavities, I’ll get these massive migraines. And then my ears will actually clog up, and I won’t be able to hear things very well,” said Brentlinger.
We visited an allergist, Doctor Gregory Lux. He says allergy season technically didn’t start early, but the tree pollen is out and it’s only going to get worse.
“Our cedar comes in the middle of February, and it continues for three to four weeks,” he explained.
He says if you’re suffering, start using a nasal spray now because it takes a couple weeks to feel the full effects.
“The spring is generally the highest pollen counts of the year. So between now and the end of may can be really rough if you have several trees that bother you,” said Lux.
Doctor Lux says if you’re suffering from allergies for four or more months out of the year, it may be time to see the doctor.
“It’s a lifelong disease, and you can learn to take care of it, but most people end up saying, ‘Maybe I’m getting tired of this and would like to do something else.’ And that’s where you take the allergy shots to try to make it better,” he said.
We met Becky Hunter at the allergist’s office. She says after twenty years as an allergy sufferer, she decided to come in for shots.
“I see a huge difference,” she said, “I’ve actually gotten my husband to come in. I was doing better, he was suffering, and I told him, ‘You know the answer.’ And so I highly recommend it to anybody that’s an allergy sufferer.”
It’s a time commitment. She’s been visiting the doctor for six months to get all of her shots in. After each shot, she has to sit in the office for 30 minutes before she can leave. But Hunter says it’s well worth it. She says the shot in the arm doesn’t even hurt.
Brentlinger says he’s tried almost every remedy.
“Allergy pills, nasal spray, I usually just carry nasal spray with me,” he said.
Now, he’s preparing for a trip to the doctor’s office as well.
“If it’s going to get worse than this, through the rest of the springtime, I won’t be able to do it. It’s knocked me out of work a couple days. And I can’t do that, obviously. You got to pay your bills,” he laughed.
Dr. Lux says pollen counts are nearly impossible to forecast, but the Springfield-Greene County Health Department will start posting pollen counts online on March sixth. See the sidebar for the link to that website.