Spring allergy season shaping up to be harsh

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) -- As an afternoon thunder and rain storm sits over the Grand Valley, the moisture is a welcome change heading into what's expected to be a hot and dry summer. Despite the gift of rain, Mother Nature isn’t benefiting everyone.

Wednesday's rain is great for the valley, helping plants, trees and grasses grow faster, but that means more pollen in the air and a harsher allergy season for many.

Don't feel bad reaching for another tissue. Just thank Mother Nature for that runny nose, itchy eyes and sore throat.

Allergy season is harder than usual for many who suffer from Spring pollen.

"[I’m allergic to] grass, trees, mostly pollen," Zach Romero said. "My allergies this season have been extremely terrible, mostly in the nasal, and just all of the sneezing."

"[My daughter] in particular, this has been a really tough Spring, we can't seem to quite get them under control," mother Karen Nelson said.

Like the changing seasons, there are phases to allergy season, too. The Grand Valley is transitioning from the tree allergy season to grass, and the overlap combined with wind and mold spores could be causing some to suffer more than they're used to.

"Both tree pollen that's tailing off, we're getting less of that, and the grasses are starting to pollinate," allergist Dr. William Scott said.

For many, the high pollen counts are causing allergies to flare up making it more difficult to enjoy Spring outdoors.

"I play a lot of sports and whenever I get a sinus infection or ear infection, it hurts to run," Caden Clark said.

Dr. Scott says some simple over-the-counter meds could do the trick.

"Antihistamines, probably the most effective one is the generic for Zyrtec called Cetirizine,” he said.

For those who continue to suffer, though, Dr. Scott says it may be worth talking to a physician or getting tested to see what more can be done to help.

"It goes from sneezing all day, itchy eyes to clear eyes and being fine all day long, being able to run and not cough every 10 seconds," Romero said of his prescription allergy medications.

Grand Junction pollen levels are expected to reach "high" levels this week, meaning symptoms may become more severe in the coming days. Unfortunately, not everyone is lucky enough to outgrow the sneezing, runny nose and itchy eyes.

"I’m hoping I grow out of them because I don't want to be sneezing for the rest of my life every Spring," Romero said.

Rain like today can also be used to your advantage. Rain helps clear the air of pollen for 12-36 hours after it stops.

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