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What Allergies Are In Season Now In Massachusetts

Basic Information About Timothy Grass Allergy

Allergy season well underway in western Massachusetts
  • Grass description: grass has flat leaves and grows two to four feet tall
  • Allergy type: Non-food allergy, grass pollen allergy
  • Habitat: Timothy grass is normally grown in Europe and Asia. It has also adapted to cool parts of Northern America. Despite its origins, it’s now widely available in the US. It’s commonly used as feeds for horses and grass for lawns.
  • Allergy season: June to July or early summer to fall
  • Allergic reactions: mild to severe, depending on the pollen count and the body’s sensitivity

Allergist Says Climate Change A Likely Contributor To Trend

BOSTON It is, in essence, botanical love dust. But pollen isnt getting much love in the Boston area this spring, with many experiencing what they swear is the worst allergy season ever.

And they are likely correct, said Dr. Lakiea Wright, an allergist at Brigham and Womens Hospital in Boston.

So there is a trend over the years, year over year, having the worst season, and I would say that this season is no different in that regard, she said.

Wright said the culprit for this trend, in part, is likely climate change, which is causing an extension of the growing season, higher pollen counts, bursts of pollen after extreme weather and more potent pollen.

And the end result of that: More people are becoming sensitized and more patients are having allergy symptoms or these sorts of hay fever symptoms, Wright said. We see longer pollen seasons, more pollens being produced, these drastic swings in weather with these cold spells and these warm spells leading to intense pollen release.

Limiting pollen exposure is one of the first steps to finding relief. That means avoiding outdoor activity when pollen counts are likely to be highest. In spring and early summer, thats usually in the evening. In late summer into fall, the highest counts are usually in the morning. Pollen counts can rise sharply after it rains. And dry, windy, warm days can be some of the toughest for allergy sufferers to get through.

The Alternative To Overpaying For Seasonal Allergy Prescriptions

According to the CDC, “Medical costs linked with pollen exceed $3 billion every year, with nearly half of those costs being linked to prescription medicine.” If your insurance doesn’t cover your prescription allergy medication or you’re looking for a cheaper alternative, GoodRx, the leading resource in health care savings, is here to help.

GoodRx offers coupons for commonly prescribed allergy medications such as mometasone, azelastine and prednisone. Obtaining your GoodRx coupon is simple. Visit the GoodRx website or download the free GoodRx app and add in your prescription details and ZIP code, and GoodRx immediately starts sourcing drug coupons and comparing medication prices at pharmacies in Boston so you can select the option that works best for you.

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Easy Ways To Beat Seasonal Allergies When The Pollen Count Spikes

If your seasonal allergies are making you miserable this spring, you’re not alone. More than 50 million Americans experience allergies each year. The good news is there are measures you can take to minimize the impact of seasonal allergies.

Seasonal allergies are usually caused by three main types of pollen: trees, grass, and weeds. They’re called “seasonal allergies” because each type of pollen has a season where they’re most potent. Here’s a general timeline of common pollen seasons:

  • Some outdoor molds also peak in the fall months

When you’re monitoring pollen counts for your specific allergy, here are 10 ways to cope:

  • Stay inside if it’s windy and warm.
  • Pollen counts tend to rise on dry, warm, and windy days, so if it’s breezy outside, try to stay indoors.

  • Go outside at the right times.
  • Pollen counts are highest in the morning and again at night, so if you need to go outside, try to do it when counts are low.

  • Know which pollen you’re allergic to, and respond accordingly.
  • When it comes to seasonal allergies, it’s important to know exactly what you’re allergic to so you can take appropriate action.

    “I have patients who come in saying they’re allergic to pets, then we perform a skin test and it turns out they’re actually allergic to oak trees or another pollen the pet is bringing inside on their fur,” says Erin Willits, MD, an allergist and immunologist at Intermountain Alta View Hospital.

  • Start your medication regimen early
  • Close windows and doors
  • Common Allergies In August & September

    Bad news in the air during pollen season (Editorial ...

    Seasonal allergies affect more than 35 million Americans, states the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology. Symptoms consist of sneezing, stuffiness, runny nose, nasal itching, throat itching and eye or ear irritation. Seasonal allergies that occur in August and September are often due to pollen and molds but can vary from one person to another and by region. Treatment consists of medication and allergen avoidance.

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    What Causes Fall Allergies

    Ragweed is the biggest allergy trigger in the fall. Though it usually starts to release pollen with cool nights and warm days in August, it can last into September and October. About 75% of people allergic to spring plants also have reactions to ragweed.

    Even if it doesn’t grow where you live, ragweed pollen can travel for hundreds of miles on the wind. For some people who are allergic to ragweed, certain fruits and vegetables, including bananas, melon, and zucchini, can also cause symptoms.

    Mold is another fall trigger. You may think of mold growing in your basement or bathroom — damp areas in the house — but mold spores also love wet spots outside. Piles of damp leaves are ideal breeding grounds for mold.

    Donât forget dust mites. While theyâre common during the humid summer months, they can get stirred into the air the first time you turn on your heat in the fall. They can trigger sneezes, wheezes, and runny noses.

    Going back to school can also bring allergies in kids because mold and dust mites are common in schools.

    Pollen Is Becoming Impossible To Avoid

    Allergies occur when the bodys internal radar system locks onto the wrong target, causing the immune system to overreact to an otherwise harmless substance.

    This can cause mild annoyances like hives or itchy eyes, or life-threatening issues like anaphylaxis, where blood pressure plummets and airways start swelling shut.

    About 8 percent of US adults suffer from hay fever, also known as allergic rhinitis, brought on by pollen allergies.Most cases can be treated with antihistamines, but they cost the US between $3.4 billion and $11.2 billion each year just in direct medical expenses, with a substantially higher toll from lost productivity. Complications like pollen-induced asthma attacks have also proven fatal in some instances and lead to more than 20,000 emergency room visits each year in the US.

    Pollen is a fine powder produced as part of the sexualreproductive cycle of many varieties of plants, including elm trees, ryegrass, and ragweed.

    Its released in response to environmental signals like temperature, precipitation, and sunlight. Grains of pollen range in size from 9 microns to 200 microns, so some types of pollen can travel deep into the lungs and cause irritation, even for people who dont have allergies. High concentrations of pollen in the air trigger allergic reactions and can spread for miles, even indoors if structures are not sealed.

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    Our physicians specialize in the care of seasonal allergies, indoor allergies, food allergies, asthma, eczema, and other allergic conditions. Let us help you take control of your allergies and asthma today

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    Our physicians specialize in the care of seasonal allergies, indoor allergies, food allergies, asthma, eczema, and other allergic conditions. Let us help you take control of your allergies and asthma today

    Extensive array of services and programs to present a comprehensive and integrated diagnosis and treatment plan for you beginning from the moment you first step through our doors

    How Can I Tell If My Symptoms Are Allergies Or Covid

    Allergy season well underway in western Massachusetts

    Before you stress out, know that there’s one positive aspect when it comes to allergens in the year 2021: “Masks mean less inhalation of pollen through the nose or mouth, and that may translate to decreased symptoms for some sufferers,” explains Manisha Relan, MD, a board-certified allergist. Noted!

    That said, if you’re worried about telling the difference between symptoms, whenever they do arise, listen up: The COVID and allergy symptoms that typically overlap are headaches, wheezing, and sore throat. It’s also possible to experience nasal congestion, a runny nose, and sneezing with COVID, too, though these are more commonly allergy symptoms. A dry cough, shortness of breath, and loss of smell, are all likely COVID-19 symptoms, though there’s always the possibility that these are the side effects of allergies.

    Overall, though, if you’re having trouble telling if your symptoms are allergies or COVID, your best bet is to check in with a doctor’s office or urgent-care center.

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    Blame Climate Change For This Summers Bad Allergy Season

    Allergic man blowing on wipe in a park on spring season a sunny day

    If you’ve felt like your seasonal allergies are worse this year, you’re not alone. Higher temperatures are linked with longer tree and grass pollen seasons.

    According to a recent study published in the journal Scientific Reports, temperature increases in northern California are worsening pollen-related allergies, while precipitation changes are associated with more mold spores in the air.

    “Climate change is really a problem for health, and we are living and breathing the effects of climate change now,” said the study’s senior author, Kari Nadeau, professor of medicine and of pediatrics at Stanford School of Medicine.

    Nadeau, according to a news release, became interested in the subject because she noticed that patients said their seasonal allergies were getting worse.

    “As an allergist, it is my duty to follow the pollen counts, and I was noticing that the start date of the tree pollen season was earlier every year,” Nadeau said. “My patients were complaining, and I would say, ‘This is such a tough year,’ but then I thought, wait, I’m saying that every year.”

    While the study is local to northern California, the trend tracks across the United States.

    Last year, masks coincidentally provided some relief for allergy sufferers. Pollen grains range in size from 200 microns to 10 microns, and masks were able to block some of them out when people stepped outside.

    Climate Change And The Pandemic Are Playing A Huge Role

    Year over year, were finding climate change is a major factor in worsening symptoms for spring and fall pollen seasons, said Kenneth Mendez, the CEO and president of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

    The rising temps and increasing CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere are making pollen seasons heavier and longer. Allergy season is now 10 days longer than it was in 1990, and trees, grass and weeds are producing 21% more pollen. More pollen means more runny noses, watery eyes and itchy throats.

    Unfortunately, we are seeing an increase in pollen counts on a yearly basis, and this is due to global warming and an increase in CO2, which we know plays a role in higher pollen counts, said Payel Gupta, an allergist and immunologist and medical director of the at-home allergy clinic Cleared.

    The recent warm weather were seeing this year and in the past few years is to blame. Plants bloom in warm weather, then tree, grass and weed pollen pick up and fly into the air around us.

    In the past, warm weather didnt appear until April or so, delaying pollen-producing plants from blooming. But its been getting warmer earlier year after year. Some areas in the Northeast saw 70-degree days as early as January this year. On top of that, the first freeze we typically see each fall is happening later in the year. Mendez said this keeps flowering pants like ragweed a major source of allergies alive and well.

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    Are Allergies In Kids Different Than In Adults

    It can be especially difficult to control allergies in kids, Dr. Leeds says, adding that kids tend to spend more time outdoors and, thus, are exposed to more pollen. A high pollen count day is not going to deter them from going to the playground, says Dr. Leeds. Thats unlike an adult who might say, ‘Im going to drive my car to work, keep the windows rolled up, and not take that walk during lunch.’

    Another difference is that allergies in adults are usually well-established, while in kids there is the hope that they will outgrow them, Dr. Leeds says.

    With kids, we talk about the concept of atopy, which is an allergic predisposition, she says. For a child with a strong family history of any allergiesand especially for those who develop symptoms early in lifedoctors look out for the four main allergic diseases: eczema, food allergies, nasal allergies, and asthma. These allergic diseases, in general, are increasing in prevalence, she says.

    When Does Allergy Season 2021 Start

    Pollen season to begin as warm temperatures return this ...

    Well, its technically *always* allergy season due to year-round offenders such as dust mites, mold, and pet dander, says Purvi Parikh, MD, an allergist and immunologist with Allergy & Asthma Network. But some allergenspollens, specificallyare seasonal.

    Tree pollen, for example, pops up in the spring , grass pollen arrives in the late spring , weed pollen is most prevalent in the summer , and ragweed pollen takes over from summer to fall , says Dr. Parikh.

    And, as mentioned, climate change means allergy season begins earlier and lasts longer, adds Corinne Keet, MD, PhD, a professor and allergist at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Specifically, the season has been arriving 20 days earlier than it did in 1990, and contains at least 20 percent more pollen, the New York Times reported.

    To get super-specific, Pollen.com has a National Allergy Map that provides an up-to-date allergy forecast in different areas around the country and an Allergy Alert app that gives five-day forecasts with in-depth info on specific allergens, helping you decide if you should stay indoors that day. You should also note that windy, warm, and sunny days can increase levels of pollen turnout, while drizzling or rainy weather is actually associated with no or lower levels of seasonal pollen, explains Clifford W. Bassett, MD, medical director at Allergy and Asthma Care of New York.

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    Allergies Are Going To Get Way Way Worse

    Researchers estimate that pollen counts of all varieties will double by 2040 in some parts of the country, depending on what pathway the world takes on greenhouse gas emissions. Heres how scientists project allergy risks from tree pollen will change in the eastern United States under a high greenhouse gas emissions scenario:

    Heres the trajectory for ragweed:

    And heres what to expect for grass pollen:

    This means that regardless of your pollen of choice, the future holds more misery for allergy sufferers. And as the Covid-19 pandemic rages, it may be a long time before millions of Americans can breathe easy.

    When Should I Start Taking Allergy Meds

    Theres no point in waiting until youre miserable to take allergy meds, especially if you want to keep up your outdoor workouts. In fact, allergists recommend you start taking meds a couple weeks before allergy season arrives, or, at the latest, take them the moment you begin having symptoms, says Dr. Parikh. Taking them early can stop an immune system freak-out before it happens, lessening the severity of symptoms, he adds. Check out the National Allergy Map to figure out when to start taking meds depending on where you live.

    As for which allergy meds to take, if youre seriously stuffed, start with steroid nasal sprays such as Flonase or Rhinocort, which reduce inflammation-induced stuffiness, says Dr. Keet. And if you’ve got itching, sneezing, and a runny nose, too, look for non-sedating antihistamines such as Zyrtec, Xyzal, or Allegra, she adds. Just remember: While OTC allergy meds suppress symptoms, they dont cure the problem, so they may be less effective if your allergies are worsening, notes Dr. Parikh.

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    Glossary of Payment Terms:

    • Copay: The amount you are required to pay at your visit.
    • Deductible: The amount you pay for your treatment before insurance startsto pay. This could be applied to allergy testing and breathing tests.
    • Coinsurance: Usually a percentage of your bill that you are responsibleto pay.

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