RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – If you think your pollen allergies started earlier and are more intense this year, you’re not wrong. Allergists say it is happening and people are noticing.
“My head feels constantly full, said Ren Lauer. “I’m sneezing, have burning eyes — that kind of thing. It’s really bad this year.”
Everywhere you look, you see that yellow coating. That’s pine tree pollen. It doesn’t bother you because those pollen grains are too large to affect the receptors in your nasal system — but it’s a visual representation of what else is in the air.
“The truth is the pollen triggering your allergies is airborne,” said allergist Dr. Tania Elliot. “They are suspended in the air and so super small you can’t see it with your naked eye.”
And this year, around central North Carolina, experts say allergy season started earlier and is more intense.
What makes a bad allergy season?
- Above-average rainfall
- Above-average temperatures
- Increased pollutants
“Pollen can combine with pollutants creating super pollens irritating to the eye and the nose,” Elliot said.
Believe it or not, your eyelashes can play a role in allergies.
“Pollen can actually get stuck in between your eyelashes,” Elliot said. “If you come inside and rinse the pollen off, you have to scrub between your eyelashes.”
Elliot recommends baby shampoo to get rid of the pollen stuck there because it won’t irritate the eyes.
“My wife and I have serious allergy problems,” said Tony May. “We get prescription medicine from the doctor. It does help but it’s very difficult.”
Then there’s the question of is it a pollen allergy or something else causing the eye irritation.
Elliot said it’s sometimes hard to tell the difference between dry eye irritation and allergy irritation.
“With dry eyes, it tends not to fluctuate or get better or worse during certain times of the year. It’s a constant, year-round thing,” she said. “With allergies, you tend to see flare-ups.”
You can also mitigate pollen inside your home. Also, the pandemic may actually help you deal with pollen. Allergists say wearing a good mask outside may help filter out some of the pollen you might normally breathe in your nose.