Santa Barbara- S County

Wet winter means misery for some allergy sufferers

SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. - The wet winter was good for the drought and plant growth, but it also spells trouble for allergy sufferers.

Dr. Myron Liebhaber of Sansum Clinic said it's stacking up to be one of the worst allergy seasons in recent memory.

"It's like the perfect storm. The rains came during the growing season, then it got windy and then it got dry. That's perfect for plants to pollinate, especially the grass and some of the trees. We're seeing all time highs," Dr. Liebhaber said.

Allergies can cause a watery and stuffy nose, itching eyes, sneezing and even wheezing. The body is releasing histamine which enters the central nervous system causing fatigue.

This season, people who have never experienced pollen allergies before are showing up at doctors offices.

"Allergies are genetic. It's in your genetic makeup but when you have symptoms it is a genetic time clock that's ready to go off," Dr. Liebhaber said.  "You can have allergies start at any time in your life. We've seen people with allergies at 80-years-old and they never had it before."

Over-the-counter antihistamines typically get rid of the symptoms, according to Dr. Liebhaber. 

But, he said there are some measures you can do before you try any medications:

  • wash your hair at night to get the pollen out before you sleep
  • keep windows closed in the morning during peak pollen times
  • don't mow grass if you know you are allergic
  • don't sleep with pets because they gather pollen in their fur


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