NEW YORK (CBS News) – If you’re struggling with your allergies, you’re not alone. With the weather so unpredictable, the allergy season has been getting worse.
A walk in the park used to be unbearable for Melissa Jackson.
“I was extremely depressed, not to be able to go out and enjoy the weather,” says Jackson.
She’s one of 50 million Americans who suffer with the itchy watery eyes, sneezing, and coughing of seasonal allergies. Melissa reacts to pollen, dust mites, and mold.
“I was so sick. I had to carry a box of tissues everywhere I went.”
Dr. Purvi Parikh of the Allergy & Asthma Network says allergies have been getting worse in recent years.
“This year, especially, the weather has been so unpredictable so the season has been longer,” Parikh says, “The pollen has been more potent because of the ups and downs in the temperature.”
But experts say you don’t have to suffer. Over the counter medications and the other treatments can provide relief.
“Claritin, Zyrtec, Allegra, Xyzal – all of those are 24 hours, so they can provide relief throughout the day,” says Parikh.
“And then the allergy nose sprays work even better than the pills, and they go right to where the problem is, so things such as Flonase or Nasacort.”
And allergy shots may be an option. Melissa has been getting them for two years to develop a tolerance to her allergens.
“I can now enjoy the weather and still live my life.”
Doctors suggest changing your clothes, taking a shower before bed, and keeping windows and doors closed in the morning to help keep pollen out of the house.