High pollen count ails Tri-State allergy sufferers

CINCINNATI - With the blooming of the Tri-State's first flowers comes allergy sufferer's first seasonal nightmare.

On this day one year ago, the pollen count was at 383, described as a high pollen count. But today it stands at 608, which means those around the Tri-State with allergy problems might be sniffling more than usual.

Allergies can be tricky because symptoms are sometimes mistaken for a common cold, according to officials.

Dr. Masood Ahmad, a West Chester allergist, pointed out symptoms specific to allergies.

"A lot of sneezing, coughing, itchy eyes," Ahmad said. "A lot of draining in the back of patients' throats. Lethargy. Just overall feeling of not doing well. Very run-down feeling."

Some residents in the Tri-State have to call off work when their symptoms become unbearable.

"This season has hit my eyes in particular," said Gary Mowry, a 10-year allergy sufferer. "It causes great irritation and blurred vision. I get this every year. Right now it feels like I've been up studying for finals for about two days and it sort of feels scratchy, a little bit puffy... a little bit of blurred vision because of the constant flow of liquids."

Melissa Morris, mother to an 8-year-old allergy sufferer, had to take her daughter to the West Chester Clinic after two or three allergy seasons.

"It makes my heart hurt hearing her cough and cough and cough and struggle to breathe," Morris said. "We knew we had to do something."

Experts say the best approach for allergy sufferers is to avoid allergens altogether. While many can't completely avoid their triggers, specialists offer some helpful tips:

  1. Stay indoors between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. (pollen counts are generally higher during this time)
  2. Use a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter on your furnace and air conditioner
  3. Schedulding your errands and workouts later in the day on high-pollen days
  4. If you have a pet that goes outside, wipe his fur off before he comes back in. Pets can bring pollen indoors on their fur.
  5. Take off your shoes before you come inside, so you don't track in pollen.
  6. Dry your clothes in a dryer; don't hang them outside.

To track daily pollen and mold counts, click here: http://www.southwestohioair.org/air-quality-map.html

9 On Your Side reporter Mekialaya White contributed to this report.

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