Extended Drought Brings Relief to Allergy Sufferers

POSTED: Wednesday, October 12, 2011 - 4:45pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, October 12, 2011 - 4:42pm

EL PASO - There are two seasons allergy sufferers hate most: spring and fall. You may have been experiencing symptoms recently, but this season isn't all that bad for people with allergies.

Each workday starts the same for Laura Frowner. She takes down a rod from an instrument used to collect pollen and mold spores. Then, frowner goes inside to do the real work

"We place the adapter on the microscope," said Dr. Frowner.

She prepares a slide that will show her which kinds of pollen and mold are in the air.

"And then we look through and we count whatever we see on there. Sometimes it's lots of mold and sometimes there weed. Like right now we have mostly ragweed," said Dr. Frowner.

This small rod rotates at different intervals throughout the day. It's placed about 10 feet high so it touches approximately the same amount of pollen and mold that we encounter each day.

“Less than 10 particles is low. 10-50 is moderate 50-100 is high and over 100 we get into the very high range," stated Dr. Frowner.

Doctor Lyndon Mansfield has been keeping track of pollen in the El Paso area for nearly three decades. He says this Fall has the lowest counts of pollen he's ever seen because of the lack of rain.

"Good for the patients, bad for the allergist," said Dr. Mansfield.

You may be surprised by this; many people are still suffering from allergy symptoms this season.

"This is not a yes or no situation. The more pollen the more intense the symptoms but even with this amount of pollen people will still have symptoms, just not as intense," said Dr. Mansfield.

And that means the symptoms can be relieved through simpler methods like over the counter treatments. So even though you might not be breathing well because of allergies you can breathe a little easier knowing that at least they're not as bad as they could be.

Doctor Mansfield also says many websites that offer pollen forecasts use predictions instead of counts which can often be wrong. In a year like this with a drought, numbers will be very different from a year with a normal amount of rain.


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