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Nothing to sneeze at

Allergy season off to miserable start

CLOVIS — If your nose has been running or you’ve started sneezing more than usual over the past weeks, you’re not alone.

March generally brings out more pollen but local health officials are saying this allergy season has been particularly bad.

“I feel like it was high all through January and kind of tapered off in February and now it’s creeping up again,” said Susanne Oborny, a clinical allergy specialist at X-Press Care. “I think it’s going to get a little worse by the end of the month.”

Charles Otero, a physician assistant at Trinity Family Medicine said this strong allergy season follows along with trends both here in eastern New Mexico and nationwide.

“It’s been bad the last three or four years,” Otero said. “We’ve noticed nationally and locally that the pollen counts are higher because of the warmer weather. They’re bringing on the higher counts earlier than usual so people are kind of shocked about having symptoms so early in the year.”

Otero said warmer temperatures have led to plant growth starting earlier and earlier in the year, leading to a more prolonged allergy season.

He said one way people can try to combat that is to monitor pollen levels and then try to avoid the outdoors or wear a mask if pollen counts are particularly high., a nationwide allergy forecaster, has classified pollen levels in Clovis and Portales as high since March 12 and on Thursday the pollen levels in the area were among the worst in the country.

That means people are experiencing all the traditional symptoms that comes along with allergies.

“A lot of common symptoms. You sneeze, you have a runny nose, and your eyes itch,” Otero said.

Otero said some people could even be feeling these symptoms for the first time as it’s possible to develop allergies that you did not previously have or a pre-existing allergy could become more severe as time goes on.

Oborny offered up several ways for people to combat those symptoms.

“Stick to their antihistamine regiment to prevent symptoms and I guess use neti pots and nose sprays, those always are good treatments,” Oborny said. “Or they can get allergy tested and do shots.”

Otero said another option available is called immunotherapy where patients are exposed to allergens in order to change the body to not react to them.

He advised that anyone with a high fever or pain should visit their doctor to ensure they are not suffering from something other than allergies and that drinking lots of water is the best thing someone can do.

“That’s so, so important,” Otero said.

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