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Warm Winter Could Mean Fierce Ossining Allergies

OSSINING, N.Y. – Spring is in the air and so are allergens, leaving Ossining residents bracing for a strong allergy season.

Ossining resident Amanda Pastor, who spent time with 3-year-old son James at Briarcliff Manor's Law Memorial Park Tuesday, said she’s just going to deal with the allergies as best she can this season.

“We both get pretty severe allergies so it’s not going to be good,” she said. “There is no option of staying inside. In the winter you have colds and in the spring and summer you have allergies. So you just deal with it.” 

Phillip Ruiz of Briarcliff Manor said he is preparing for the worst this year. 

“So far, so good. I used to get allergies more often but it seems like they’ve tempered down,” Ruiz said at Law Park Tuesday. “I’ve had, and my daughter Nicole has also had acute asthma so we’re more prone to it, but it’s been pretty tame. It's probably not going to be like this for long.”

Springtime allergy season typically arrives either early or late April in Briarcliff Manor, but the unusually mild winter might mean an early beginning to stuffy noses and itchy eyes. And now is the perfect time to address issues that might not surface until after the vernal equinox.

Allergy sufferers might be miserable in the springtime – or any time, for that matter – but they're far from alone. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, about 26 million Americans endure chronic seasonal allergies.

Allergic reactions are the body's response to an invasion. When your interior sentries detect foreign substances (antigens), the immune system is triggered, health officials say. Its antibodies attack the allergen, which leads to the release of histamines, which trigger allergic symptoms.

Allergens responsible for early spring afflictions begin with tree pollens, which are released when young buds develop into leaves. Pollens typically – and this winter has been far from typical – become a factor around the beginning of April and grass pollens follow around mid-May.

But how does a person discern between an early spring allergic condition and a late winter cold? Colds usually last five to seven days and can be accompanied by fever, body aches and other symptoms, according to health officials. People experiencing persistent cold-like respiratory symptoms – without fever and body aches – might be suffering from allergies.

In addition to congestion and coughing, allergy symptoms can include sneezing, itchy and/or watery eyes runny nose and postnasal drip, sinus pain (headaches, congestion) and itchy, stuffy ears. But allergy symptoms can also manifest as eczema, hives and other skin rashes.

Sufferers with intermittent or occasional symptoms should consider seeking relief from over-the-counter medications, such as antihistamines, salt-water nasal rinses and eye drops. If symptoms are more persistent – and if they interfere with regular activities or quality of life – health officials suggest that sufferers should see an allergist.

Before your wave your white tissue in surrender to allergies, take action. Then, think spring.

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