Local allergy doctor talks early spring pollen in New Mexico

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – If you’ve been sneezing and coughing nonstop this past week, you’re not alone. Allergy season is here early and this year is going to be a rough one.

Due to the extra warm winter we had, spring has sprung ahead of schedule.

"We have seen already several trees blooming this year, starting in late December, early January. We had cedars, junipers and elms starting bloom," said Amanda Grippen-Goddard D.O. with Allergy Partners of Albuquerque.

That means there’s more pollen in the air right now, compared to previous years. Grippen-Goddard says she’s seen a surge in new patients now that mask restrictions have eased up.

"Because they were getting protected from wearing masks on the face and covering the nose and mouth from the pollen landing on the nose and going into the airway as well.”

Even though the pandemic is winding down, folks are still a little on edge when it comes to coughing and sneezing in public. Grippen-Goddard says those aren’t the problematic symptoms to watch for.

"Fevers are atypical to have in allergy symptoms, so we shouldn’t see fevers, chills."

The same goes for prolonged headaches, nausea, or vomiting, all signs to either go see a doctor– or take a COVID test. You should also go see a doctor if you have trouble breathing.

"So if it’s affecting shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing more frequent– they could be developing asthma."

To treat less-severe allergies, doctors recommend over-the-counter medications like Allegra, Claritin, Zyrtec, and Xyzal.

"Those four are 12-24 hours, so they last much longer than Benadryl, which only last for 4-6 hours."

Spring allergy season is expected to last through May.