Painful pollen

Krystle Wagner • Jul 21, 2015 at 12:38 PM

Tiny granules of pollen carried in the welcome warm breeze are wreaking havoc on local allergy sufferers. Local pharmacists and doctors said they’re seeing an uptick in the number of people seeking relief – from medications to herbal remedies.

Here’s why: Throughout late April and early May, tree pollen counts remained high and so did mold spores. By mid May, grass pollen added to the mix.

This witch’s brew of pollen has sent local residents to doctors and drug stores complained of sneezing, itchy eyes and runny noses.

The Weather Channel’s PollenCast for Grand Haven doesn’t show any relief in sight. Once the area dries out and mold spores dip, there will be a rise in weed pollen. Rain showers, which dampen airborne pollen, provide temporary relief.

Nearly 8 percent of all adults, and 10 percent of all children suffer from seasonal allergies, according to the latest numbers from the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. So you’re not alone.

WZZM 13 Chief Meteorologist George Lessens said seasonal allergies are particularly bad this year all along Michigan’s west coast.

The flooding caused a lot of mildew and mold spores to hang in the air, plus spring hit quickly this year with trees, flowers and grass all greening up at about the same time, he noted.

Seasonal allergies are essentially the body’s overreaction. The body sees harmless pollen as a foreign invader, and attacks it like it would a virus such as the flu. The immune system releases histamine and other chemicals to attack the pollen, which creates an allergic reaction.

Some longtime allergy sufferers are taking matters into their own hands. Rich Wheeler is one of them, and he’s actually breathing a little easier this year.

The 67-year-old Grand Haven man and his wife, Michal, have added a tablespoon of locally-made honey to their daily consumption since the beginning of January to beat the allergy suffering.

While Rich puts a tablespoon of honey on his cereal each morning, Michal adds it to peanut butter.

To read more of this story, see Saturday’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.


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