It's that time of year again - allergy season, which is striking about two weeks earlier than usual and packing a stronger-than-usual pollen punch.
If you've heard it's because of the especially snowy winter, that isn't a myth, it's true, according to From.
"We had so much snow that the ground is well-soaked with water, plus melting snow soaks it more, and then all we needed were warm temperatures and the trees were primed to produce pollen," he said. "I myself am allergic, and I have been on my medication two weeks now, and so have my patients. They have early symptoms. Some of them say, 'It's too early. I must have a cold.' But it's not a cold."
Chronic coughing, runny nose and watery eyes are among the symptoms of nasal allergy sufferers, who total about 45 million nationwide and 1.2 million in New Jersey, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America in Landover, Md. There are various tests for allergies, such as a skin pricking similar to the kind of tests one got as a child for tuberculosis.
While highly treatable through over-the-counter pills, prescription sprays and injections, what is hard to explain about nasal allergies is why some people get them, and when.
"There's a myth that, if you don't have it as a young child, you will never develop an allergy," From said. "I have seen people in their 80s develop it, when they never had it before. We don't know why the signal is turned on."
Local allergists suggest avoiding things like over-the-counter eye drops and certain over-the-counter mists. "Nasal Neo-Synephrine and Dristan nasal sprays, if used more than five days, you will become addicted to them," said Dr. Patrick Perin, allergist at St. Joseph's Regional Medical Center in Paterson. "I call it 'instant gratification.' The spray makes you feel better right away, but then there is a rebound effect, where your symptoms will ultimately be much worse than what they were initially."