Doctor offers tips to allergy sufferers

lgierer@ledger-enquirer.comApril 21, 2014 

Because of the cold, wet winter in the Columbus area, pollen counts have been exceptionally high this spring, according to Dr. Robert Chrzanowski of the Allergy Center at Brookstone.

Grass pollen is usually most prominent at this time of year, but the physician said that tree pollen, which usually is released earlier but was held up by the cooler temperatures, is coming out in force now.

"It's warming up now and everything is blooming at once. Tree pollen is at a record high," he said.

Daily pollen counts, which can be checked online, confirm what Chrzanowski said. Pollen.com runs a daily report as does Chrzanowski's clinic website.

While tree and grass pollen are both currently affecting allergy sufferers in the Chattahoochee Valley, weed pollen becomes more of a problem in late summer and early fall.

As someone who has suffered from asthma since he was a young boy, Chrzanowski understands those suffering from allergies.

He said his condition played a big part in him choosing this practice of medicine.

"I know how bad it can make you feel," the allergist said.

The symptoms can cause sleepless nights and fatigue.

The physician said allergies mostly develop young in life, usually by the age of five, and there is usually a family history.

Allergies are caused by an overactive immune system. The body mistakes harmless substances, such as dust or pollen, for germs and attacks them. The body releases chemicals, such as histamine, just as it does when it is fighting a cold. This can cause swelling in nasal passages and produces a variety of symptoms.

While there are a number of items that people may be allergic to, such as mold or a certain food, this time of year, pollen affects many.

Pollen is a fine powder that comes from trees, grass and weeds.

Many associate pollen with the yellow powder that covers everything in the spring, but Chrzanowski said that yellow powder, which is pine pollen, is not the kind that causes problems. "The grains are too big," he said.

The tree pollen to be concerned with come form oak, pecan, birch and maple trees. "We have a lot of pecan trees," he said.

There are medications, both over the counter and prescription, that can help fight allergy symptoms.

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