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Early Bloom Triggers Allergy Symptoms For Many


If you suffer from pollen allergies, it doesn't look like you'll get much of a break from Mother Nature anytime soon.

The Sacramento Valley forecast shows more unseasonably warm weather with tree and weed pollen in the "high" to "very high" range. That's bad news for people like Jag Sandhu.

"My eyes are getting a little itchy, they're getting runny," says Sandhu. "My nose, as you can see, I'm sniffing away."

Sandhu works in Downtown Sacramento where he's sitting on a bench in Capitol Park, eating lunch. He moved to Sacramento from England just over a year ago where pollen allergies were never a problem for him. But Sandhu says his wife warned him about Sacramento's high tree pollens.

"I was told initially, I didn't really believe her," says Sandhu. "Now I'm experiencing it for the first time in my life."

A few park benches away, another pollen sufferer - Bregetta  Borden - is holding a tissue, wiping a tear from  her right eye. 

"The pollen and plus the air, the breeze is irritating my eyes worse," says Borden. "I'm constantly tearing all day."

Borden says her allergy symptoms came sooner this year.

"It's a little bit early just like, you know, the mosquitoes are early."

Some people can get relief from over-the-counter medications for watery eyes, runny nose, sneezing, coughing and nasal congestion. Others seek professional help.

"Let's just say in the last two weeks my patient numbers have doubled as compared to the normal rest of the year," says Mark Grijnsztein is an allergist for Sutter Medical Group.

"Every year patients come and tell me this is the worst year yet. It could be possible that allergy overall is worsening due to the climate that we are in now and lack of rain or even climate change in general."

Grijnsztein suggests closing windows and showering frequently to wash pollen off your hair and skin. He says if mediation isn't working, the next step could be allergy desensitization shots.

Meanwhile, for allergy sufferers like Bregetta Borden, high pollen counts are just a part of life in Sacramento.   

"Bare with it, until summer."


Steve Milne

Morning Edition Anchor & Reporter

Steve is the voice of Capital Public Radio News as anchor of Morning Edition and Insight. He covers stories on a wide range of topics including: business, education, real estate, agriculture and music. Steve also produced stories for CapRadio.org.   Read Full Bio