Brace for a brutal 2019 allergy season in California

Super blooms will bring super sneezes

Johnny Jump-Up wildflowers blooming at Laguna Seca Recreation Area on Monday, March 18, 2019. (Vern Fisher – Monterey Herald)
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Spring is busting out all over — and that means that it’s about to be peak allergy season.

The combination of rain showers and warm weather means that we are about to be surrounded by wildflowers and the pollen they generate. If you find yourself suffering from itchy eyes, sneezing, headaches and an inability to ever have enough tissues around, check out these handy tips to keep your allergies under control. Get prepared before the achoos strike so you can enjoy some of the sublime superblooms of poppies that have started popping up around California.

“Allergic reactions can occur anytime, anyplace, anywhere, and being prepared is always the most important thing,” Dr. Jaison Jose, an allergist with Geisinger Health System in Pennsylvania, told AccuWeather.

“The pollen is able to travel sometimes 20 miles and it is certainly being spread evenly around the county,” allergy specialist Dr. Bruce Paterson said to CBS SF.  Many patients come to his Concord offices to get their allergy shots before the sneezing starts.

Wildflowers at Carrizo Plain National Monument, San Luis Obispo County 

If you don’t want to get a jab, there are other ways to keep symptoms at bay. You can start by staying inside in the morning when pollen counts are often at their highest, as AccuWeather suggests. For the record, the safest time to go outside may be after a heavy rain, when a lot of the particles have been washed away.

You also might want to keep yourself protected by shutting the windows in your house and car and vacuuming frequently. Use air conditioning to keep things cool instead of opening the windows. The Mayo Clinic suggests using a portable high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter in your bedroom.

Also, don’t leave home without your stash of allergy relief medications. Over-the-counter lifesavers — including antihistamines, eye drops, nasal spray and decongestants — can help make the spring seem more enjoyable, or at least less miserable.

By the way, some people with pollen allergies also have trouble consuming fresh fruit with symptoms flaring up.

“For example, some patients very allergic to birch tree pollen get an itchy mouth when they eat fresh apples, but cooked apples, like in apple pie, don’t cause symptoms,” Robert Sporter, M.D. at ENT & Allergy Associates in New York City, told AccuWeather.

Those over-the-counter items can help make the season a more pleasant experience. That’s good advice because some experts warn that this spring, with its alternating periods of rain and sunshine, likely will prolong allergy season all the way into June and perhaps even July.

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