After the polar vortex, what CBS News calls the 'pollen' vortex seems to be causing issues for allergy sufferers all over the country.
Experts say the rough winter means plants' growth is not staggering. Usually, spring brings our tree pollen, summer brings grass pollen, and ragweed comes in the fall. But because spring was so delayed, many things are blooming all at once. The biggest culprits this time of year are trees, grass, and mold. But doctors say there are things allergy sufferers can try to do to reduce their symptoms.
Dr. Clifford Bassett, Medical Director of Allergy and Asthma Care of NY said, "Pollen, typically higher in the morning, you want to be outside later in the day when pollen counts are typically lower."
You can keep allergens out of your home by taking off outer layers of clothes as soon as you get home and showering nightly to wash the pollen off your hair and skin. But your diet can also help!
Dr. David Forbes, Owner of Nashville Integrated Medicine said, "First and foremost, I'm going to talk to my patients about their diet because, believe it or not, getting your allergy symptoms down from a 10 to a 2 is usually dietarily dependent." Specifically, he said people should cut back on the refined sugars, grains and dairy.
Some people, like our 2 Wants to Know producer's husband, are turning to local honey. Some say because bees take pollen from local flowers, eating local honey is believed to desensitize your body like an allergy shot.
But most people rely on prescription or over the counter drugs to battle the coughing and sneezing. But Consumer Reports experts say before you take anything, your first step should be making sure you actually have allergies! All too often folks have something else, asthma, a cold, a sinus infection, but not allergies, so you're not treating the right thing.
You also want to consider the medicine's possible side effects. Some allergy medicines cause drowsiness.
Consumer Reports evaluated several popular antihistimines based on effectiveness, safety, and price. Of the drugs available over-the-counter, the real battle was between loratadine and cetirizine. Loratadine is sold as Alavert and is also the active ingredient in Claritin. Cetirizine is more commonly known as Zyrtec, but can also be found in other products.
Both proved effective against hay fever, seasonal allergies, perennial allergies, and hives.
But when it came down to cost, Consumer Reports rated the loratadine products as the best buys. They averaged less than $20 a month!