Eagle County residents battle seasonal allergies
VAIL CO, Colorado
EAGLE COUNTY – It’s June – a relief from the long winter that is now behind us, but for those who suffer from allergies, there might not appear to be any relief in sight.
Pollen counts are high, and indoor dust and dander is extreme right now, according to the AccuWeather.com allergy forecast for the Vail area this week.
Dr. Rob McDermott, of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology of the Rockies in Eagle and Glenwood Springs, says pollen counts are up this time of year and grass follows as we get further into the month of June.
Tree pollens are active into June, as well. And the weed season kicks off around July and lasts through September, meaning the entire summer can be allergy-ridden for many local residents.
For some people relief means staying indoors with the windows shut. For others, over-the-counter medicine can do the trick, at least temporarily.
Remedies run the spectrum from natural and homeopathic to traditional prescribed or over-the-counter medicine, and every person is different, says Jacqui Slavin, who owns Functional Wellness in Avon and teaches anatomy and physiology at Colorado Mountain College.
Slavin looks at allergies as part of a larger picture of what’s wrong with a person’s health, specifically as it relates to stress. There are emotional stressors, physical stressors and chemical stressors. Slavin believes many people who might be overloaded with stress in other areas of their lives could experience more severe allergic reactions.
That’s not to say everyone with allergies is somehow stressed out in life, but for those who are, the allergies can sometimes overshadow something else going on, she says.
“It could be the weakest link, so you notice it the most,” Slavin says. “You might pay attention to it more than something else like a tense neck caused by stress.”
There are also so-called inflammatory foods that can elevate reactions to various allergens, Slavin says.
Ben Kleimer, of Avon, has noticed a difference since he started eating different foods. His allergies had gotten to the point where he couldn’t stay awake or hold a conversation because he couldn’t see through his watery eyes.
“All of my symptoms have been lessened,” Kleimer says.
Kleimer’s allergies killed his motivation to go outside and exercise, something he loves to do. That resulted in weight gain and eventually sports injuries down the road.
And while Kleimer found relief from his allergies in prescription allergy medications, he says the side effects were almost worse for him than the actual allergies.
“I went from suffering from allergies to side effects,” he says.
For some patients, natural remedies might not work, yet medical remedies do work.
Deborah A. Wiancek, a naturopathic doctor who runs the Riverwalk Natural Health Clinic and Natural Pharmacy in Edwards, says the earlier people seek help for their allergies, the easier it will be to treat those allergies.
Treatments at Wiancek’s office might include homeopathic drops that can desensitize people with grass and weed allergies, for example. Changing that internal environment, Wiancek says, can help prevent reactions to the outside environment.
Slavin says if two patients walk into her office who are both suffering from headaches, she won’t necessarily suggest the same treatment for each person.
“Everybody is really different,” she says. “There are definitely airborne particles that can trouble people, but potentially people are more susceptible to those things because something is already inflamed in the body.”
Local professional skier Drew Rouse, who is allergic to sagebrush and pine trees, to name a few, takes Zyrtec if he really gets fed up with his allergies. Most of the time, however, he just deals with it.
“My allergies are terrible this time of year and basically they persist until it starts snowing again,” Rouse says.
Community Editor Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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