Goodbye polar vortex, hello pollen vortex

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (April 14, 2014)– Out with the polar vortex and in with the pollen vortex.

As if the bone-chilling winter wasn’t bad enough, it seems winter will be felt well into spring. Simply put, winter went long and spring is shortened so the pollinating process is now jammed into a few miserable weeks for allergy-sufferers.

“That’s going to make the season very intense,” said Dr. Susan Helsel of the Community Physician Network. ” Possibly shorter, but also very intense.”

Dr. Helsel says you first need to confirm it’s allergies.

“Generally, allergies don’t hit as suddenly,” said Dr. Helsel. “They don’t’ have fever or chills. Those things do not go on with allergies, but the symptoms can still be very intense with sneezing, coughing, watery eyes, and runny nose.”

Once you know it’s allergies, pop an antihistamine, nasal spray or whatever OTC medication works for you. The sooner, the better.

Dr. Helsel says your main goal is to block pollen, so she suggests keeping your windows shut, showering at night, and washing your pillowcase and sheets more often than usual.

“Some people even suggest wearing sunglasses outside so the pollen doesn’t directly hit your eyes,” she said, “And if you’ve been outside, wash your clothes really well so the pollen doesn’t stay on your clothes. You get in bed and then the symptoms get worse over night.”

She also suggests using a neti-pot.

“Those are very effective for a lot of people, especially if they do know they have allergies and they know it’s not an infection. I think it’s important to have that differentiated, that they don’t have a sinus infection going on at the time.”

If you don’t find any relief within a week or two, Dr. Helsel says it’s time to see a doctor and look at other options.

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