Is allergy season getting worse?

WASHINGTON (DC News Now) — If you suffer from allergies, this spring has been especially challenging — experts say that allergy season is growing longer and worse.

That’s because as the climate has warmed, there are fewer days with hard freezes. That gives pollen producers, grasses and weeds a longer period of time to thrive and make your eyes water.

“Some of the worst in history. Global warming is allergy’s best friend. Shorter winters, warmer springs higher pollen counts, more misery,” said Dr. Henry Fishman, an allergist in Washington, D.C.

Carbon monoxide poisoning: What you need to know this spring about the ‘silent killer’

Fishman, the former Chief of the Allergy Division at Georgetown University Hospital, said some people who’ve never had allergies are now suffering from them.

“Some allergies are genetic, like environmental allergies, and it just happens at different times in life. But it’s exacerbated by the high pollen count in spring and some allergies or non-genetic food allergy. They can occur at any age with no genetic basis,” he said.

One of the best ways to alleviate allergy symptoms is to stay indoors in air conditioning, especially on dry windy days.

“If you go out early in the morning or late in the afternoon, the pollen counts will lower. And after you go out, you want to take a shower to get the pollen off of you. You can talk to your primary doctor about allergies and some over-the-counter medicines, like nasal steroids. And then this means if you’re really miserable just get tested. Allergy shots work extremely well and are symptom-free,” Dr. Fishman said.

Even though symptoms are similar, there are ways to tell if you are suffering from allergies, COVID-19, the flu or a cold.

“Allergies tend to run in families. They’re seasonal and their symptoms are very similar. You can get stuffy nose, short throat, etc., But viruses and infections tend to cause fever, muscle aches, sweats and chills and be more short-lived. Allergies last a bit longer. An allergist can tell by looking at your tissues. Allergy tissues tend to be pale gray in the nose. Infections tend to be bright red,” Dr. Fishman said.

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to DC News Now | Washington, DC.