As Fall Weather Rolls In, So Do Allergies

By Lauren Wanko

A crisp, autumn-like breeze this morning swept over much of the state, reminding many of us that fall is a few days away. But Bayville resident Peter Hermsen doesn’t need the reminder — he’s been suffering from fall allergies.

“Allergies, when they get you down your face fills up, you just feel miserable,” he said.

The biggest culprit? “Ragweed,” said Dr. Thomas Brandeisky. “Ragweed season usually begins in August, it can be as early as late July, sometimes it’ll start a little bit later.”

Peter’s visiting ENT and Allergy Specialist Dr. Brandeisky for a routine check-up. Hermsen’s been suffering from allergies since 1990.

“Since then it’s just been miserable season, after miserable season until I started getting treated for it,” Hermsen said.

Brandeisky said he’s seen more patients coming in this season. “I think patients are made aware of symptoms by commercials for drugs that are now available over the counter or by prescription,” he said.

Dr. Brandeisky, says acute, seasonal allergies cause an explosive, sudden onset of complaints.

“All of a sudden a week turns and a patient’s got itching, sneezing, itchy eyes, itchy throat, they may cough, they may have aggravation of asthma, fullness in the ears,” Brandeisky said.

Symptoms Hermsen all too familiar with.

“It’s mostly stuffiness, watery eyes, itchy eyes, a lot of post nasal drip, completely lose sense of smell because you can’t breathe,” he said.

Dr. Brandeisky recommends over-the-counter medications like nasal steroids, decongestants and antihistamines. Patients are diagnosed after discussing their medical and family history with the doctor along with a physical exam. A skin test confirms the results. The Meridian Health specialist expects to see even more patients as folks start cranking up their heat as the cold weather settles in.

“During the heating season we actually create an environment that’s very beneficial to dust mites. They actually breed in our pillows, our quilts, our sofas, carpets, any textiles,” Dr. Brandeisky said.

If patients have forced air they should change their filter monthly, says the doctor, and consider adding a room filter. Those with proven dust mite allergies could purchase mite-proof bedding covers.

“You can also eliminate dusty items from your bedroom. If you get rid of the rug and go to a hardwood floor, damp mop it frequently, remove, especially in children’s cases, they like to have their stuffed animals, that’s just another kind of pillow. Blinds instead of curtains would also help,” Dr. Brandeisky said.

Hermsen receives allergy shots often and has been feeling good.

“I love being outside and this gives me an opportunity to do so without suffering,” he said,

Dr. Brandeisky expects fall allergy sufferers to find relief after the first, hard frost.