Allergies are one of the most common chronic illnesses in the United States, and family history almost always plays a role in those that suffer the most. Irritants including the likes of pet dander and tree pollen stimulate the immune system to release histamine which causes the all-too-familiar itching, sneezing, runny nose, and watery eyes. Seasonal allergies result in 12 million physician office visits per year and this number appears to be increasing with the aging of Americans. According to Dr. Staffel of the Shea Clinic, “As our bodies and our immune systems get older, they get less responsive. It is similar to most aging athletes whose reflexes slow down as they get older. People over 65 years old tend to lose sensitivity to allergies for the same reasons they are more susceptible to infection.”
According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, more than 50 million Americans have allergies, making it the fifth most common ailment in the country. Tens of thousands of Memphians are among the estimated 50 million Americans suffering from allergies this spring in what many experts are calling “the worst season ever” for intense nose tickles and burning throats. Even worse, Knoxville to our east, Louisville to the north, and Jackson, MS to the south all rank in the Top 5 of the Top 100 worst cities in the nation for allergies as ranked by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Memphis has it bad. We are simply surrounded by the worst cities for allergies during one of the worst seasons for allergies.
The climate of the Deep South enables longer spring seasons as the Southern states get more light and humidity. This climate also facilitates the growth of a variety of pollen-producing plants and trees. The warmer Southern states have longer and more intense allergy seasons starting with pollen production in April and followed by grass and ragweed well into August. Oftentimes, these weed pollens do not peak until September but they then disappear with the first frost.
Dr. Staffel with Shea Clinic advises a few simple remedies to ease the symptoms this year. “The best advice I can give is to get tested and find out what you’re allergic to”, he says. Dr. Staffel suggests trying an antihistamine, eye drops and a saline wash to rinse the nasal passages. He also points out that the height of pollen production takes place between 10:00 am and 2:00 pm, so it may help to avoid outdoor activities during these hours.
Have you already experienced allergy symptoms this year and need to see a doctor for your allergies? Allergy Experts at Memphis Shea Clinic Dr. Staffel and the team are here to help you! Contact us at 1-800-477-SHEA or locally at 901-761-9720 and set up your appointment today.