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Pollen, allergy season in full swing across area

Residents of this area may often say that the weather changes directly from winter to summer, skipping spring altogether; however, the reality is that spring is certainly real and comes with its own sounds — wheezing, coughing and sneezing.

The pesky allergen has been in high quantity throughout the City of Demopolis, according to pollen.com. The site, which monitors pollen levels, show that the “allergy index” for Demopolis has been in the “high” level for most of the past month.

Dr. Ronnie Chu of Physicians Family Healthcare in Demopolis offers some advice to help overcome the springtime irritant.

“If it’s not severe, if it’s just mild allergies, I think it’s very reasonable to get over-the-counter (medication). Go to your local family pharmacy and they’ll tell you,” Chu said. “That’s why living in Demopolis is so great — the local pharmacists know your history and they’ll help you get things knowing your past medical problems. If they know the situation is too complicated and you’re not in great health, they can send you to the doctor. They are able to provide a lot of information for you.”

Chu warned to be careful with decongestants as he said they could raise blood pressure, which could cause problems for a person with heart issues.

“If you think you’re going to experience a lot of allergy drainage and other symptoms, (the medicine to choose) depends on whether it is acute or chronic. With acute, you could use some over-the-counter medicines such as Claritin-D, Zyrtec-D or Allegra-D. Those would be for those who have a lot of congestion. If you don’t have congestion, other products without decongestant would be fine,” Chu said.

For chronic problems, Chu recommends over-the-counter nasal sprays such as Nasacort or Flonase. Chu said to be careful using Afrin as it has been known to raise blood pressure.

Aside from medication driven methods to handle the pollen, Chu suggests those suffering from itchy eyes to put a towel over the face with a cold ice pack on it to decrease retinal swelling. He also said it is a good practice to wash the hands and face well and often and to wear a mask outside or stay inside as much as possible if pollen allergies are severe.

Chu urges everyone to stay in tune with his or her health, because the problem with allergy or sinus problems could extend beyond the pesky pollen.

“If it becomes very problematic, don’t just assume this is a seasonal thing,” Chu said. “There is blood work that can be done that tells very quickly if you are. If that doesn’t work, there is additional allergy testing that can be done.”

For pollen forecasts and more information visit pollen.com.