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“Over the last several weeks, people are just starting to feel it with sneezing, itchy and watery eyes, scratchy throat and headaches,” says, Dr. Jacob Offenberger, an allergist at Dignity Health Northridge Hospital and private practice physician in the San Fernando and Santa Clarita Valley. “Although most of the heavy rain from the El Nino happened to the North of Los Angeles, we had enough rain to cover the hills and vegetation in outlying areas surrounding the counties.” He says he is starting to see a large increase in patients with symptoms of pollen allergy that are seeking help from their allergy symptoms. Warm temperatures combined with windy days and early blooming grasses will add to the misery of the patient suffering with the allergy.” It’s important to start treating the allergy BEFORE the start of the season as preventing asthma and allergy symptoms are more effective than waiting for a severe symptom to occur as it will take longer to improve those symptoms and treat.”
Dr. Offenberger went on to state that, “early treatment usually involves oral antihistamines or nasal steroids or topical antihistamine, eye or nose drops. If they provide no relief, the next step is to identify the culprit for the symptom with skin or blood testing with an allergist and possible immunotherapy to desensitize the body to an allergen.” “Traditionally in the past this was only treated with allergy shots but recently there have been two sublingual grass tablets available to use instead of injections.” “For many, especially children, these tablets provide a welcome alternative to shots. But this form of immunotherapy needs three to four months to take effect, which means the window for protection for this grass allergy season is quickly closing now.”
Dr. Jacob Offenberger is an Allergist and private practice physician with Dignity Health Northridge Hospital Medical Center.