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Healthwatch 16: Allergy sufferers dreading start of spring

Newswatch 16's Courtney Harrison spoke with allergy experts about what causes them and why people in our area suffer.

LACKAWANNA COUNTY, Pa. — Springtime allergies aren't a walk in the park for allergy sufferers. Runny nose, itchy eyes, and other symptoms are some of the complaints for people in our area as the buds on the trees start to bloom.

Dr. Puneet Bajaj is the director for allergy and immunology at Geisinger and says those who suffer from seasonal allergies in the spring may not only be suffering from what's in their backyard.

"We start getting allergies here even before the trees start to blossom here because it comes from the Philadelphia area, so the pollen can travel up to 70 miles."

Dr. Bajaj says the transition from winter to spring can also factor into how bad the pollen will be.

"I think if it's too cold and it doesn't warm up slowly or gradually, then you can have a sudden warming, and when that happens, the pollen counts go from very low to very high very quickly."

Dr. Bajaj says about 60 to 80 percent of the population suffers from seasonal allergies because of what grows in our area and how long the allergy season lasts–typically from now until June.

"In general, I think the prevalence has stayed pretty strong here. It's not like it was low in the past, and it's getting back, but it's been pretty high in this area."

If you have seasonal allergies, Dr. Bajaj says you can take over-the-counter allergy medications or see a doctor. He also offers some preventative measures.

"Try to be indoors and keep doors and windows closed. If they spend time outside, when they come back in, they can rinse their face and maybe take a shower. If they have long hair, then they can wash their hair."

Watch more Healthwatch 16 stories on YouTube.  

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