In August, the Northeast experienced record ragweed pollen counts, the most common cause of Fall allergies, but there is also an increase in patients suffering from mold and dust-mite allergies. Residents along the East Coast experienced a record-breaking summer of high heat and rainfalls. When combined, they form the perfect storm to growth of these allergens.

Hurricane Irene, which caused severe and record-breaking rainfall all along the East Coast, caused flooding of “epic proportions” according to NASA. This has made ideal circumstances for ragweed, which thrives in lots of water and sun. It blooms around August and can continue producing pollen through the late fall until a killing frost. Weather experts expect that it will be a long blooming season as well, since for the last decade killing frosts have been occurring later and later. These factors will combine to produce record levels of air-born allergens late into the Fall.

High levels of rain are also ideal for another common allergen, mold. Mold multiplies quickly in wet conditions. Although it is not a seasonal allergen, the Northeast, which typically has much dryer weather conditions in late summer is expected to have unusually high levels of mold this Fall.

Dust-mites are also a widespread allergen expected to reach unusual levels due to the high heat experienced this summer and the dampness.

Allergic reactions to air-born allergens can range from mild to severe. Usual symptoms include stuffy or runny nose, sneezing and itchy eyes. Other symptoms can include coughing, fatigue, and sore throat. These symptoms can sometimes lead to more serious conditions such as sinus and ear infections. Due to blockage in the nose, snoring is also a very common result.

Treatment of your allergies vary according to severity. Prescription nasal steroid sprays decrease the allergic reaction and inflammation in the nose. Non-sedating antihistamines treat the body’s natural reaction when it comes in contact with an allergen by blocking histamine which causes swelling and congestion. Allergy injections or immunotherapy, are for patients with long-standing allergies, and may be identified through skin or blood tests. They gradually reduce symptoms and the need for medication. If you’re not sure what it is that is causing your allergic reaction, an allergist can identify your allergy. It is important to treat your symptoms because they can lead to more serious conditions, and if they are interfering with your breathing or sleeping, seek treatment with an ear, nose and throat specialist.

David Volpi, M.D., P.C., F.A.C.S. is a board-certified otolaryngology surgeon with Ear, Nose and Throat practices, Otolaryngology Associates, on the Upper West Side and Upper East Side and is a staff member of the best teaching hospitals New York City. Realizing that there is a lack of information on the part of the public about the potential severity of snoring, he founded The Manhattan Snoring and Sleep Center to be a place where snoring patients can go for expert information, diagnosis and treatment. As a recognized authority throughout the country for his work in snoring disorders, he is also the author of the definitive guide book on the diagnosis and treatment of snoring: Wake Up! You’re Snoring…