It is estimated that more than 35 million Americans cope with spring and fall allergies and the number keeps climbing. Researchers at Duke University say it's partly because our environment is constantly changing. Climate changes and rising carbon dioxide levels stimulate plants to produce more pollen. But another reason is that people are changing. We lead cleaner, more indoor, lives.
Dr. John Sunday, M.D., an allergist with Duke University Medical Center, says, "Our super clean environment, perhaps, may actually put people at added risk for developing allergies down the line."
Dr. Sunday says he is not talking about the hand washing kind of clean, but the lack of exposure to work and play outside. He says that earlier generations grew up on farms and were routinely exposed to animals, hay, and plant life may have learned to shrug off allergy triggers.
How do you know if you are suffering from an allergy and not a cold? Dr. Sunday says that if symptoms last longer than a few weeks, it is probably an allergy. A quick shower or bath when heading inside can help reduce pollen exposure. In addition, pollen counts tend to be highest in the morning.
To find the pollen count in your area, log on to the National Allergy Bureau: click here.
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