Allergy season has arrived in southern AZ, pollen counts on the rise

Allergy season has arrived in southern AZ, pollen counts on the rise

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - The pollen season has arrived in Tucson and with it watery eyes, runny noses, scratchy throats and a general feeling of malaise for thousands of people.

It's nothing new, it arrives on schedule every year. Sometimes a bit earlier, sometimes a bit later, but always, it arrives.

This year, it's a bit late.

"I'm telling you, this is only the beginning of the pollen season," said Dr. Tara Carr, director of the Allergy Department at the University of Arizona. "I've noticed some of the trees, palo verde, mesquite, are just now showing signs of blooming."

But the allergies, even though they arrive every year and we usually wait them out until the hot summer sun tamps things down a bit, should not be taken lightly.

"It can really significantly, impact your everyday function," Dr. Carr said. "So we take it very seriously."

Dr. Carr says there's a different tolerance level in everyone and it's up to the individual to decide which treatment is best. She says the line between treatment and being passive is an individual decision but there is a rule of thumb.

"I think anyone who is having a quality of life disturbance, if you're not able to work, not able to sleep and you're not feeling well day to day," she said. "Then that would require treatment."

That treatment can come in many forms. Expensive shots, over the counter medications, or even some home remedies might work.

For Beth Hargrove, owner of the Rillito Nursery on Orange Grove and La Cholla, that may include local honey.

Does it really work?

"I don't know because I'm not a doctor and I can't answer that," she said. "But I know a lot of people say it does help."

"Well I think there is something to be said for local honey," Dr. Carr said. "Anecdotally speaking, not based on scientific research, my patients tell me whey they ingest local honey, their symptoms can actually feel better."

But for most, if it's not affecting the quality of life and not too bothersome, waiting it out is sometimes the best medicine.

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