'This could be a long, bad allergy season'

PORTLAND, Ore. - Allergy season may be longer and stronger this year.

The reason? Allergists say trees are pollinating earlier and they're producing more pollen.

"We're getting more warm weather earlier so we're getting a much broader, longer, more intense allergy season," said Dr. Ken Weizer, a naturopathic physician with Providence Health and Services. "Pollen season has changed over the years. Sometimes it's about a month longer now, so people that were allergic are having it longer now and people that weren't allergic are getting allergic."

Weizer says taking medications for allergies inhibits that body's natural response to allergens like pollen.

"Your body is trying to do what it's trying to do, which is clean you out," he said. "Most of the medications stop your body from doing what it wants to do. They try to stop you from sneezing and getting that stuff out. So a better and different approach is to get rid of the allergens because your body wants to get rid of it."

He suggests cleaning out your irritated nasal passages with a Netti Pot or saline nasal sprays.

He also says your diet can affect how your body responds to allergens. Try eating less sugar and junk foods, which Weizer says are immune system suppressors.

Other ways to lessen the effects of allergy season: keep windows closed at home and in your car, change out your home air filters and take a shower to get pollen out of your hair after a day outside.

"This could be a long, bad allergy season," he said. "So consider the whole person approach. Not just taking a med every day that stops your body from doing what it needs to do, but think about how you be proactive so you needs less meds and feel better too."