Hot, humid weather makes for nasty allergy season

September 2, 2010 (CHICAGO)

Doctors say those who have had a tough time with allergies can blame the hot and humid weather.

Jody Lempa from Oak Park is using her inhaler more than ever.

"I just actually went to see a doctor last week because it's been so daunting in the past month," said Lempa.

August was miserable for the 25-year-old who says she's been suffering from seasonal allergies, this year being far worse than last.

"Itchy eyes, a lot of headaches, nasal congestion, runny nose and also asthma," said Lempa.

"It's bad. It's definitely bad right now," said Dr. Giselle Mosnaim, allergist, Rush University Medical Center.

Dr. Mosnaim says last month the volume of patients complaining of allergies are up significantly and their symptoms are more severe.

"We've had a lot of patients as urgent walk-in visits that they just aren't able to sleep at night. They're waking up in the morning feeling very congested. Their allergies and their asthma are out of control," said Dr. Mosnaim.

According to Dr. Joseph Leija from Gottlieb Memorial Hospital who measures pollen in the environment daily, the pollen count Thursday was high at 51. A low count is between five and 15.

Doctors like Mosnaim are blaming the record high counts which are expected to remain high into Labor Day weekend on the weather changes.

"As the humidity and the heat and the higher pollen counts, then we're having more people with symptoms and that's what's bringing more people into the office," said Dr. Mosnaim.

Physicians say when pollen counts are this high, the best thing you can do is to stay in the air conditioning, close windows and doors, and take antihistamines or nasal decongestants to relieve symptoms.

Lempa wishes she'll be breathing a sigh of relief sooner than later.

"Hopefully they won't last too long," said Lempa.

Doctors say pollution is also to blame for the problems and part of the reason they're seeing more people develop allergies after 30.

Some doctors believe global warming is contributing to increased allergens in the air.

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