3Qs: Dr. Matt Oswalt

By Michaela Gibson Morris/NEMS Daily Journal

Spring is in bloom, and so are sneezes, coughs, runny noses and red, itchy eyes.
Many of the things that make our gardens grow can leave many of us feeling miserable from seasonal allergies. The Daily Journal’s Michaela Gibson Morris queried Tupelo allergist Dr. Matt Oswalt about the state of the spring allergy season and the best ways to combat the discomfort it can bring.

Q: How has warm-then-cold-then-warm weather affected the spring allergy season?
A: There is less pollen released on cooler, cloudier days than on hot, sunny days. It is thought that more rain can lead to higher pollen counts later in the season. The cooler weather could reduce the counts for a short time, but we will have high counts in this area when it gets warm.
Q: What are the common mistakes people make when trying to manage seasonal allergies on their own?
A: One of the major mistakes is waiting too late to begin therapy. If you truly have seasonal allergies without a perennial component (something that irritates you year round), you should make sure that you begin therapy about two weeks before symptoms typically begin.
Q: What’s the most effective course of action for people fighting spring allergies?
A: This depends on the severity of symptoms. Some patients have a very short symptomatic period. For these individuals, using antihistamines to relieve sneezing, itching and drainage might be effective. Patients who have symptoms one to two months or more, usually require nasal steroid sprays and should generally be evaluated for testing in order to maximize therapy.