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Wet spring leads to longer, more intense allergy season, affecting many Central Oregonians

'Juniper kicked in, and my eyes would swell shut,' Redmond resident Julie Rubio says

(Update: Adding video, comments from certified allergist Dr. Ripdeep Mangat and Redmond resident)

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Lately, before the hot weather hit, we’ve had pleasant, comfortable temperatures, nice for water activities and nature walks. But serious allergies have become a pain for many locals wanting to enjoy such outings.

“Allergies can affect you in a number of ways. It can affect you in the nose, where you can get allergic rhinitis, runny nose, sneezing," certified allergist Dr. Ripdeep Mangat said Tuesday.

Dr. Mangat, who works at the Allergy and Asthma Care Center of Bend, told NewsChannel 21 the culprit for this more intense, more sustained and possibly extended allergy season has a lot to do with the amount of precipitation we've been having since winter, mixed in with the wind, and recent warmer temperatures.

That combination, he said, has led to worse nasal allergies, itchy eyes and asthma cases.

Julie Rubio is a Redmond resident who said in the nine years she's lived in Central Oregon, this is the worst allergy season she has experienced.

"Juniper kicked in, and my eyes would swell shut," she said.

Dr. Mangat said, "Springtime, we see a lot of juniper pollen allergy here, and that’s a very prevalent pollen. And then when we get later in the spring, (there's) deciduous trees, but also the grass pollen, which is the season we’re in now."

Over the past few weeks, Dr. Mangat said he's had about a 20% increase in allergy calls this season, compared to last year.

"We had precipitation in the winter this year. That led to a fairly long pollen season -- we got a lot of calls," Dr. Mangat said.

On a Reddit post this week, Bend residents were sharing their experiences with allergies this year and just how bad they’re getting, with some symptoms lasting from a few days to a few weeks.

Dr. Mangat said although the rain knocks pollen levels down, it also makes plants grow more.

Add the hotter temperatures and wind, and he said that could lead to some uncomfortable symptoms.

"I expect the summer pollen season to go on, maybe for a couple weeks longer here," Mangat said. "It should improve. However, we have the fall pollen season, and because we’ve had the rain, potentially those fall pollen allergies can come in early.”

Rubio said she sees tons of juniper pollen all over her car windshield.

“I keep rubbing my eyes. I won’t wear makeup or anything because it will just come off," Rubio said.

Dr. Mangat said that over-the-counter allergy medication can help alleviate the symptoms, but it also helps to see an allergy specialist and formulate a treatment plan, which would inform people of when to take certain medications so they can be more effective.

Article Topic Follows: Health

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Bola Gbadebo

Bola Gbadebo is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Bola here.


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