Healthbeat: Report shows NEPA ranks among worst locations for allergies

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PLAINS TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — It may not feel much like it this week, but spring is just three days away. It’s what many of us have been waiting for after the long winter, but with it comes another season that’s not so welcome.

When it comes to where in the U.S. seasonal allergies are the worst, you don’t have to look any farther than Northeastern and Central Pennsylvania.

And now it’s just days from the time of year Crystal Chiapuzzi dreaded for so long.

“I would have headaches all the time. You know, runny nose, stuffed up nose. My eyes would water,” said Chiapuzzi.

You can chalk up that misery to when spring bursts with life across northeastern and central Pennsylvania.

“It starts with tree pollen when the buds on the trees, then the trees start to pollenate. Then the season lasts for a few weeks until the leaves are out,” said Raymond Khoudary, MD, allergist-immunologist.

But even then, many allergy sufferers are not out of the woods. Not by a long shot. Grass allergies are right on the heels of tree allergies.

“Between the two of them we have a good 10 to 12 weeks of high pollen count,” Dr. Khoudary said.

Which means Dr. Khoudary will be extra busy treating patients. Sunny, dry, mild weather which so many of us crave provide perfect conditions to fuel pollen and trigger the sneezing season. But you can take preventative steps right now before you’re showing any allergy symptoms.

“If the person waits before they have symptoms to start their medication, it will not be as effective. If the patient starts taking the medication before the season, it will work much better for them,” Dr. Khoudary said.

That medication could be over the counter or prescription. In Chiapuzzi’s case, it’s allergy serum specific to allergens that trigger her symptoms. She gets a shot every two weeks, something she’s been doing the past year and a half to keep her allergy issues at bay.  

“Now, I don’t have to take my allergy medication every day like I used to so that helps a lot,” said Chiapuzzi.

Before taking any allergy medication, always consult with your doctor first. In the meantime, rent.com lists Northeastern Pennsylvania at the top of an allergy list.

Allergy resources are available at the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology’s website

Mark Hiller Eyewitness News

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