Early-arriving pollen hitting allergy patients hard

Spring allergies arriving early

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - It’s the first glimpse of spring - blue skies and sunshine. It also means seasonal allergies are in full swing.

Pollen has been the biggest trigger for a lot of people. The pesky allergen made its debut ahead of schedule.

"We are about three weeks early this year,” said Dr. Billy Cornay with ENT & Allergy Associates.

The season typically starts in April.

“We not only have trees, we also have grass. Grass is at a moderate level, which it’s normally not at a moderate level at this time of year,” said Dr. Cornay. “Tree pollen, of course, right now is supposed to be escalating. It is supposed to be fairly high. It will be extremely high on Sunday and the grass will remain moderate and the tree levels will get even higher than they already are.”

It’s the high pollen count that has Dr. Cornay’s office busy. There’s even a waiting list for the waiting list.

"We tried to keep about six to eight appointments slots open every day for fairly urgent patients. I walked in at 7 o’clock this morning and within 30 minutes all of those slots were filled. We had a waiting list of about eight people waiting to come in. So it’s really affecting our population,” Dr. Cornay said.

Dr. Cornay said the goal is for patients to avoid coming into his office. By then it’s too late.

“The one thing you don’t want to do is get caught and try to play catch-up because you will never catch up,“ he said. “If you know you have allergies you should go and at least try and buy some things over the counter and we have some very good drugs over the counter, that just a few years ago my prescription drugs to try and prevent it."

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