Allergy season blooms in Massachusetts

BOSTON — Prepare for severe allergy symptoms for the rest of this week, as pollen counts are expected to rise.

“I always forget and then all of a sudden, I’m feeling tired and feeling all the symptoms and I’m like God what’s wrong with me. And I’m like, oh, it’s that time again,” said Juliann Decker, who lives in Walpole.

It’s that time of year again. As the flowers start blooming, many start sneezing from those spring allergies.

Juliann Decker knows it all too well.

“Really tired, so I feel exhausted, my eyes are really itchy and just aggravated by something in the air, so I know it’s the pollen most likely and a little bit of sneezing,” said Decker.

Dr. Anilkumar Katta is an allergist and clinical immunologist at Tufts Medical Center. He says this week will be really tough for spring allergies — and it won’t stop there.

“I think it’s going to get worse and worse week after week until like end of May, so we’re just starting the high pollen counts now,” said Dr. Katta.

He says as it gets warmer, those pollen counts get higher.

“Knowing what you’re allergic to will make a huge difference,” said Dr. Katta.

Dr. Katta says if you really suffer this time of year, get tested to learn exactly what you’re allergic to — whether it’s tree pollen or grass pollen or anything else that’s in bloom right now. Then he says you should avoid those allergens by keeping windows closed while in the car or at home, or even avoid the outdoors for a bit.

“We’ve been couped up for so long, so being outdoors is really important. Sometimes I just suffer through it and just know it’s a phase, and it’ll pass and it’ll get better,” said Decker.

After two years in a pandemic, it’s tough for people to avoid going outside just as it finally gets nice in New England. So Dr. Katta says you can also get over-the-counter remedies like antihistamines or nasal sprays, and if you have severe allergies, he says you should consider allergy shots.

“At Tufts we offer something unique called rush immunotherapy, where you can treat the allergies with the allergy shots through the rush immunotherapy, and you can get cured and immediate relief. Within like two months, you see an immediate relief,” said Dr. Katta.

Another tip: you can pull out that mask again.

Dr. Katta says a lot of people didn’t suffer from allergies as much over the last two years during the pandemic since many people were wearing masks, so you may notice your symptoms more this year now that the mask mandates are over.

So he says you can try wearing a mask to limit your exposure to those allergens as well.

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