Why you can still ‘fall’ for allergies this time of year

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – A nice weekend in central North Carolina is nothing to sneeze at, but if you suffer from allergies, you may do just that. 

Pollen captures the headlines for the spring, but the fall months are famous for ragweed and grasses. 

Drs. Magda Pugh and Kashif Mazhar of Triangle Sinus Center know all about seasonal allergies here in North Carolina.

“In North Carolina we are slammed by vegetations from both the north as well as the south. So we have the grasses of the south that bloom in the summer and goes all the way into the fall season, and then the ragweed kicks in the fall season,” says Dr. Mazhar. 

Dr. Pugh notes that those with an allergy to weeds can be suffering throughout the year. 

“So patients who are allergic to weeds in general, and have an underlying rhinitis, which is an inflammation of the nose, can also react more vehemently to the fall allergies than they would in the spring.”

But why does the allergy season seem to last forever? If you thought temperatures might play a role in the allergy world, you would be correct. 

“We don’t really have very cold seasons here, so things don’t die out very easily. So until the end of December, it’s a long season,” says Pugh. 

If you are a spring sneezer, you may feel that itch again in the fall as allergic patients usually suffer during both seasons. 

But the problem may not just lie outside your front door. Everything from dust mites to mold and even pets may get you to sneeze. 

Mold can especially cause some problems here in our state.

“North Carolina again, there’s a lot of fungus and mold here. There may be no pollen, there may be no ragweed, but mold is very common in North Carolina with the weather that we have here,” states Dr. Mazhar. 

If you find yourself sniffling and sneezing more and more, it may be time for an allergy test. That is where Clinical Allergy Specialist Crystal Rice comes into the picture. With years of experience, she knows the importance of an allergy test. 

“It’s always good to get to the basis of seeing if you do have an allergy by getting allergy tested. And then you can talk to your physician to have additional testing.” 

There are two types to choose from. One is a blood test and the other is a skin allergy test. The skin test is encouraged for several reasons, including its immediacy and sensitivity.

And it takes less time than your favorite TV show. 

“It’s a skin allergy test and it’s not painful at all. We scratch your skin with the allergens for three seconds, and then within fifteen minutes you have the results right there,” says Dr. Mazhar. 

Rice says the most a patient will feel is some itching, which lets the team know what antigens are working to see what the patient is allergic to. 

“What we look for is a raised bump, similar to a mosquito bite, called a welt. And then from there we will measure everything to see how large or how sensitive a patient gets.”

Another positive is you can start treatment as early as the following week! 

If you or your family continue to sniffle and sneeze during the year, consider an allergy test so you can enjoy your time symptom-free! 

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