Summer allergies are higher than normal in Cache Valley

The middle of April marks the start of allergy season for many Utahns. Photo credit: M. Kuhlman.

A local doctor confirms suspicions that more Cache Valley residents than normal are suffering with summer allergies this year.

“It really does seem like this summer people are suffering quite a bit more,” said Dr. Jeff Bennion, of Cache Valley Ear, Nose and Throat and the Allergy Clinic. “We’re attributing it to all that rain we had in late spring and early summer. It’s caused a lot of excessive growth of both weeds and grasses.

“So we are seeing a lot more people with higher severity levels in what they are experiencing.”

Dr. Bennion said on any given day his clinic sees 10-to-15 people with severe allergies. He said there are two kinds of allergies, including the perennial type which affect people all year like dust mites or fungus or pets.

“And then there are things like pollens that are released into the air at given times. Trees tend to occur in early spring, grasses in late spring and summer and you get weeds throughout the summer into the fall. The biggest one around here in late fall is sage.”

He said when the seasons change patients come in seeking help for a cold.

“In reality when the seasons change it’s probably new allergens in the air and some patients have severe allergy symptoms. It’s pretty hard to tell the difference.”

Doctors will often encourage those in Cache Valley with spring allergies to start on medications in March as well as beginning medications in the spring for summer allergies and in the summer for fall allergies.

There are other options to deal with allergies.

“We do testing,” said Dr. Bennion. “We do immuno-therapy where you try to alter the immune system so people are no longer allergic. That provides a significant amount of relief for those with fairly severe symptoms.”

He said some patients will be moved down the pathway to some more advanced treatment, things you can’t get over the counter, or even prescriptions.

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