By Stephanie Stahl


PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It was a nice, spring day around the Philadelphia region, but for people with allergies, it was misery. Doctors say this is going to be a bad week for people with allergies.

About 50 million Americans suffer from seasonal allergies. The issue is mostly with being outside and exposed to fresh air.

The trick is to leave outdoor allergens outside.

With spring flowers budding and blooming, the breezy day had pollen flying all over the place on Kelly Drive. Oak tree pollen is very high right now in the Philadelphia region.

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Doctors say, regardless of the specifics, people with allergies are in for a tough couple of weeks. Keeping that pollen-filled air out of your home is a critical first step in controlling symptoms.

Allergens can travel on clothes and skin, too. So showering after being outside is a must. And if you have pets, doctors say pollen travels on them, too.

“They’re covered in the pollen, so once you bring them in and you’re hugging on them, you’re definitely going to have pollen indoors,” allergist Sandra Hong said. “And if they sleep with you, it’s like you’re bringing the tree into your home.”

If you’re allergic, it’s best to keep pets out of the bedroom and bathe them regularly. In addition to regular allergy medications or shots, doctors say saline spray can also be very helpful, especially when you come in from being outside.

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“It’s like giving your sinuses a bath,” Hong said. “If you actually rinse out the pollens once you’ve come into your home, they’re not going to sit in there all night long causing allergy symptoms.”

Allergies can also make your eyes very irritated. Wearing protective goggles or glasses while outdoors can help keep pollen out of the eyes.

Researchers say rising temperatures and higher concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are prolonging the pollen production seasons and increasing the amount of pollen that plants produce, which they say, will make this spring allergy season more intense and longer than usual.

Stephanie Stahl