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Hay Fever Season Sets In; How To Protect Yourself

CBS Chicago (con't)

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(CBS) – The fever has come to Chicago–hay fever.

We all know the symptoms.

“Itching of the eyes and nose and inside of the mouth, nasal congestion, sneezing and runny nose,” said Dr. Paul A Greenberger, professor and allergist at Northwestern Medicine,

He says the season of hay fever began on August 8th and lasts for six weeks.

What’s more, high mold counts have already been hanging around, causing those itchy eyes and runny noses.

His advice?

“If they smoke, stop smoking. Antihistamine pills are available and some sprays are available. However, the main therapy for sufferers is intranasal corticosteroid — which is a prescription medication,” Greenberger said.

University of Chicago Medicine’s Dr. Robert Naclerio says the term hay fever is actually a misnomer given by farm workers.

“The time that ragweed pollinated was the same time farmers used to harvest hays,” Dr. Naclerio says. “So people originally thought it was the hay.”

Seasonal allergies affect 20 percent of the population.

Naclerio says there are some minor ways to avoid the allergen — like using the a/c at home or in your car, versus opening the windows — but the mildest illnesses can be treated with over the counter drugs.