Dry weather brings elevated allergy levels


REDDING, Calif. - Spring is in the air, and unfortunately for many that means pollen is in the air as well. And that means allergies are spiking.

The beautiful weather means the pollen can get airborne much easier than when there is more moisture in the air. And that hasn't been helped by this year's drought.

The drought means pollen from trees in the mountains is getting transported down into the valley where it mixes with more pollen from grasses, trees, shrubs and flowers on the valley floor. In addition the flowering and budding season of the agricultural machine in the Sacramento Valley will pump even more pollen into the air.

But there is a way to get rid of the sniffles without pounding the pills all spring.

Allergy doctors say that a series of immunizations can actually permanently cure you of your seasonal allergies.

"Just like we immunize our kids so they don't get chicken pox or measles or anything else you can be on immunizations that make it so you really don't have allergy symptoms," said Dr. Ronald Renard of the Redding Allergy and Asthma Care Center.

He says it will take around 10 to 15 injections over the course of a few months to get the first round of immunization out of the way. From there monthly injections will make sure that your allergies stay away for much longer and eventually – after about three years, it will be a thing of the past.

"The shots don't hurt," Renard said. "They're going to itch a little bit because we're giving you shots of things we know you're allergic to, but you're not going to get a sore arm."

Renard also said that most people's insurance will cover the injections.

In lieu of getting shots, there are some other ways to help your allergies. Experts say that allergies are additive, so one will build on and aggravate another. Therefore, if you limit the prevalence of one, the others will seem less annoying.

Renard recommends keeping windows and doors closed and replacing filters in heating and air conditioning ducts. He says that pets can carry lots of allergens in with them on their fur if they are let outside, so washing your pets every time they enter the house can help mitigate allergic reactions.

Unfortunately one of the most delicious methods of treating allergies has been debunked. According to Renard, eating local honey will only stimulate the local economy and your taste buds. It won't do anything to help your allergies.

But it still tastes good to try.