Doctors seeing early start to spring allergies

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – It is that time of year again. The sniffles and sneezes of spring allergies have started for many people, just as spring itself is beginning.

“If you have the urge to rub your eyes every 10 seconds, you know sneezing, runny nose, cough, those kinds of things, pressure in your ear, it’s probably your allergies,” said Dr. Michael Rothwell at Well-Key Urgent Care.

Trees are turning green, flowers are blooming, and allergies are springing up.

“Primarily hardwoods right now–the maple trees, the poplar trees–they’re really out in full force. The grasses really haven’t started yet,” said Dr. Rothwell.

As more people head for the outdoors they are noticing those uncomfortable symptoms.

“A lot of people don’t know that. They say ‘Why are my allergies so bad?’ especially when they just move here, but Knoxville is like a kingpin,” said Dr. Rothwell.

He says Knoxville ranks in the American Allergy and Asthma Institute’s Top 10 for worst allergies every year and is on track to be number one on that list this year.

“We have nice wet winters and early springs that are warm and have the trees and grasses in abundance, so it’s the perfect storm,” he said.

He also says there are some easy ways to get to feeling better, and many over-the-counter medicines do the trick.

“The nasal steroids like Flonase and Nasacort that used to be prescription only, now they’re over the counter. They’re very very beneficial,” said Dr. Rothwell.

If you are not sure what your symptoms might be or if those medicines do not seem to be helping he says always check with your doctor.

“We had a really late flu season, so is it the flu, is it an allergy? Your doctor knows for sure,” he said.

Dr. Rothwell says if your symptoms get worse or you develop a fever it could be that your allergies have caused a sinus infection, and again you should consult your doctor.

Another option for chronic allergy sufferers could be allergy shots.

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