MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - For those who have been experiencing itchy, watery eyes, a runny nose, and sneezing, they certainly are not the only ones.
Fall allergy season is in full swing and it is affecting many sufferers. A Myrtle Beach allergist said some spring pollen is actually acting as a trigger.
In the fall, pollen is not as visible as it is in the spring. Still, a lot of it is there.
"We usually see pollen from weeds. Classically, ragweed is what people mostly associate with fall allergies, but there are a bunch of other weeds that are very indigenous and common to this area that can produce pollen and cause people problems," said Dr. Mark Schecker, an allergist with Coastal Carolina Allergy and Asthma.
Schecker said grass pollen, typically a spring allergen, is very active this fall. Mold can also act as a trigger.
"Mold is very common this time of year after a summer of high humidity and rain," he said. "You start to have a lot of vegetation dying, a lot of leaves falling off, that provides a medium for mold to grow on. So mold pollen is very active this time of year."
The symptoms can range from mild to severe and each allergy sufferer is different. Schecker pointed out there are plenty of over-the-counter medicines to help.
He also advised those with bad allergies to limit their time outdoors, which can be really hard when the weather is nice. Still, extended exposure can make symptoms worse.
"You may have pollen stuck to your clothes, maybe on your skin or your hair," Schecker said. "You might want to come home and change, even shower, so you don't have potentially persistent exposure on your skin. And if you have pets that are outdoors, they may be tracking pollen in as well."
Fall allergy season for the Grand Strand area can start as early as August and end as late as December, which can create a concern for residents that live here or visit from the north.
"Fall allergy season traditionally in the Northeast and Midwest will go from mid-August until the first week or so in October, and usually the way they describe its end is when they have their first frost," Schecker said. "Obviously that doesn't happen here that early, if it happens at all. Our season can be extended. It can go through December, so a lot of times people who are coming from the North and are used to their allergies going away in early October will find that they have a longer exposure that will last longer and because of the longer exposure their symptoms maybe more severe"
Schecker recommends those suffering from seasonal allergies to try and attack them early and aggressively.
"Allergy problems respond to much more aggressive treatment better than letting it go," he said. "So if you really want to stay out of trouble that's the way to go. Don't let it linger, don't ignore it, because in the end it's going to get you."