The Drought and Your Allergies

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POSTED: Tuesday, May 24, 2011 - 5:16pm

UPDATED: Tuesday, May 24, 2011 - 5:17pm

EL PASO- Just about everyone in our newsroom has complained about allergies.  So we wondered, does all this dry weather and dusty wind have anything to do with dry eyes and runny noses?

So we broke the record.  111 days and counting without a drop of moisture in the Sun City. 

But what this drought, and all the dust and wind that's come with it, really adds up to is one bad allergy season for thousands of El Pasoans.

And if you've got bad allergies, Doctor Lyndon Mansfield's clinic on Wyoming Street is a good place to be.

"When it's windy like we've had, it really whips up that pollen from the ground as well as what's coming from the trees," Dr. Mansfield says.

That's what makes Liz Fernandez a frequent visitor to Dr. Mansfield's office.  Today, her daughter's getting checked out, but her son's allergies have been even worse.

"He's got raccoon eyes, puffiness, swelling, discharge on his eyes," Fernandez told us.

It's been a miserable spring for her active eleven year-old.  Liz tells us he handles it the best he can.

"They become irritable, especially because of all the medications, it does mess with him," Liz said.

This allergy season really isn't that bad.  Pollen levels have stayed moderate, but the wind makes it feel worse than it is.

The constant dust in the air doesn't help.  Dust is not an allergen, but as you already know, it can make life miserable.

"The nose and the eyes and everything, they're more sensitive than they normally would be," said Dr. Mansfield.

So what's the solution?  A good thunderstorm might dampen the dust and pollen.

"For the day of the rain, there's no doubt that rain clears, and you have a day of mercy if you want to call it that," Dr. Mansfield said.

But it's temporary relief.  Rain makes plants grow, which would actually make your allergies worse.  We're in kind of a lose-lose situation.

So even though some rain might not solve all of El Paso's allergy problems, just one day of allergy relief might be something a lot of El Pasoans would like to see.

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