Cottonwood and grass allergens should leave in a few weeks

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Allergy specialists say we are currently in the peak season of grass and cottonwood allergies.

FOX 17 spoke to Nicholas Hartog, MD, an allergy and immunology specialist with Spectrum Health, who says we are currently seeing high levels of both in the air.

“During this time period the grass is typically whats most active … We’re also seeing the cottonwood blooming right now. So when we get that overlap between two different groups of allergies, is often when we see people with pretty bad allergies flare up,” Hartog said.

Most people are aware of over-the-counter remedies for allergies.  But what about avoiding those irritants in the first place?

“Avoidance is tough. One of the biggest things people can do is keep the windows closed at home … another thing I tell people is after they’ve been outside for a long period of time, just take a quick rinse off in the shower,” Hartog said. “Change your clothes because both of those can bring pollen inside.“

Washing your dog after they come inside is also recommended.  They can often times carry in allergens on their fur.

Hartog says the cottonwood and grass seasons are almost over. They usually dissipate within the next couple of weeks. Unfortunately, as soon as those are out of the air, ragweed season will be upon us.

“If a patient is able to take an over-the-counter antihistamine and they take it once a day and their symptoms are controlled, there’s probably not a whole lot extra we can do. However, if they’re taking a reasonable amount of medications and they’re doing things and they’re still having symptoms and its bothering their everyday life, that’s when you should be seen because there are things we can do,” Hartog says.