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Spring brings severe allergies

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While spring has been slow to start here in Brunswick County, as it has been elsewhere in the state and country, the telltale sign of its arrival has been proclaimed not just by the yellowish-green haze on vehicles, but also by the sniffles of allergy sufferers.

Allergy experts told Time magazine the record-setting snowfall in some regions and the lingering below-freezing temperatures could mean a late flowering for trees. A quick look anywhere in our community shows this to be the case.

Just as many of us are still trying to make up for time lost to the polar vortex 2014, which brought two damaging ice storms to the area, the trees and plants here are trying to do the same thing, playing catch-up and overcompensating by launching even more copious amounts of pollen and spores into the air.

“Generally, trees dump their allergy agents more gradually,” according to Time.com. “March sees red cedars, elm and pine trees start to bloom, followed by maple, ash, birch and oak, and April sees the nut trees like pecan and walnut begin to pollinate in the South. Grasses and ragweed kick in later in the spring.” According to The Weather Channel, this week’s forecast alone calls for overactive pollen releases from pine, cedar and alder trees in Brunswick County.

Pair that with all the precipitation we have received, and you have a recipe for weeks of mucus-filled misery for many of us. The same rainfall that helps the trees, plants and flowers grow also breeds a greater potential for mold and, in turn, the possibility of added distress for people with respiratory problems, like asthma.

Among the steps people can take to alleviate their allergy symptoms is to take nasal steroids as soon as possible, because they take up to two weeks to take effect. Another is to keep home and vehicle doors and windows closed to discourage pollen exposure.

One of Brunswick County’s most distinguishing characteristics — its 40 miles of beaches along the Atlantic Ocean — is also a natural remedy. Exposure to salt air is known to help relieve allergy and asthma symptoms in much the same way saline nasal rinses do. Of course, there are other benefits to sitting for a spell on the shoreline, like letting the sound of the waves relax the senses as well as the mind. Allergy season is as good a reason as any for seeking some quality beach time.

However you choose to find allergy relief, we hope it silences your suffering and allows you to enjoy this long-awaited spring.