NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--According to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, climate change has not only increased the duration of allergy season, but there is now 21% more pollen in the North American atmosphere since 1990. With spring underway, an influx of allergens is affecting individuals’ day-to-day functionality and productivity, whether they are strolling around the neighborhood or working at home. Dr. Shirin Peters, MD, Founder of Bethany Medical Clinic provides responses to common allergy-related questions and ways to proactively prepare for the onset of an elongated allergy season.
“There are many factors that can cause allergies that might not be on people’s radars,” says Dr. Peters. “Several allergens can hide indoors and can make you cough, sneeze, or have watery eyes. Prepare for a potentially longer allergy season by tracking pollen levels and understanding your individual pollen sensitivities to help alleviate symptoms.”
Below, Dr. Shirin Peters addresses frequently asked questions:
Q: Why is this allergy season longer and what does that mean?
A: Since temperatures are rising earlier this season, this can cause trees and grass to release pollen spores into the air earlier and can trigger an allergy attack. When this happens, the immune system falsely believes pollen is dangerous and releases antibodies to attack the pollen invaders.
Q: What is the first step to relieve allergy reactions?
A: There’s no cure for allergies, but you can manage and control allergy symptoms through over-the-counter products. If you are not sure which factors trigger your allergies, taking an allergy skin test checks for immediate reactions to different substances all at once so you know what to avoid.
Q: Are there any products that can help reduce allergy discomfort?
A: Find relief from allergy symptoms like sneezing, running nose, itchy eyes, and sinus pressure by using an over-the-counter nasal spray with zinc acetate, and take precautionary measures by making sure to throw clothes into the wash as soon as you walk inside from a day surrounded by grass and trees to reduce the spread of pollen in the home. It’s best to use a hypoallergenic detergent such as Arm and Hammer Sensitive Skin Free & Clear laundry detergent since it is gentle on the skin as well. As for fabrics, use washable curtains made of plain cotton or synthetic fabrics, and dust mite-proof covers to seal dust away from pillows and mattresses. On laundry day, wash these curtains and covers with Arm & Hammer Odor Blasters, Fresh Blast to power out dirt and odors.
Q: I’m inside, but I still feel discomfort from my allergies. How can I avoid this?
A: While you’re inside at home, minimize exposure to pollen from the outdoors by making sure to close windows so pollen can’t enter the home. Airborne particles filled with dust, pollen, and dander that trigger allergy symptoms are relatively large and are easily trapped by a HEPA filter, which is typically found in portable air-purifiers and HVAC systems. It is also a good practice to change air filters monthly and to wear a mask while cleaning around the house to reduce exposure to dust.
"By learning what your pollen sensitivities are and how to manage allergy symptoms are, you should be well equipped to handle the longer allergy season this year. If symptoms persist, consult a healthcare professional," adds Peters.
About Shirin Peters, M.D.
Shirin Peters, M.D. attended college at New York Medical College and completed her residency at the Former St. Vincent’s Hospital in Manhattan, NY. The following year, she worked at a private practice in North Carolina and learned more about the business of medicine. She returned to New York City and founded Bethany Medical Clinic of New York in 2011. She feels that New Yorkers face unique health challenges and set out to build a model of care that could reduce illness and improve health for New Yorkers and all city-dwellers. She uses her diverse past work experiences, and her understanding of city life, in her practice to give care to busy New Yorkers.