The Garden City Telegram
7/2/2013
OPINIONS AND COMMENTARY

Dusty days

Variety of irritants combine when seasonal allergies hit.

Allergy sufferers have different issues to deal with almost every year.

This time around, a later-than-usual allergy season has plagued people throughout Kansas.

Allergists with the University of Kansas Hospital recently said a late winter delayed the full growth of trees, plants and grass, which led to a later peak in the annual allergy season.

On Monday, the local allergy forecast at AccuWeather.com did indeed call for "extreme" conditions for the rest of the week in Garden City, with extremely high indoor dust and dander levels.

Combine grass, weed, tree and mold pollen with the strong wind and dryness that practically turn the outdoors into a dust storm, and it's no wonder more people are miserable with sniffling, sneezing, itchy eyes and other annoying symptoms. It's such a problem that health experts say many people who believe they're suffering from a cold or the flu may instead be experiencing the pain of allergies.

The allergists at KU noted that the level of sneezing and other symptoms often depends on whether someone lives in the city or country. They also said people who already suffer from a chronic illness, such as a breathing or heart disease, should take the most precautions when it comes to allergies. It's important for them to consult with a physician to ensure that allergies are properly addressed.

Actions to control dust and dander in homes are recommended for all. Studies show an average six-room home in the United States collects 40 pounds of dust each year.

As for trees, the pollen they generate is more difficult to avoid.

While it would be easy to single out and blame trees, it's also necessary to remember their value.

A place like Garden City has anything but an overabundance of trees. The city has a good rebate program to encourage local residents to plant trees.

Beyond their natural beauty, trees also improve air quality by absorbing pollutants and giving off oxygen.

Even with pollen outbreaks, communities are better off with more trees.

Dust, however, would be another story in a region with cause to be sick of its fallout.