April will be the most brutal month of all for asthma and allergy sufferers, according to Long Island allergists. The changing seasons, along with high pollen counts, will make this April a doozy.
“Spring allergy season is the worst in Long Island. The pollen count in trees and grass varies day by day but it is extremely high,” said Long Island-based allergist Dr. Harshit Patel. “When pollen gets into your lungs, usually through your nose, it results in inflammation and that results in breathing difficulty.”
Compared to the rest of the nation, New York has higher rates of asthma-related visits to the ER, in part because of extremely high rates of asthma in parts of New York City. Asthma hospital visits average two times higher in New York state than elsewhere in the U.S.
One in 11 children and adults in New York state currently have asthma as opposed to one in 13 nationwide. The high rates of asthma put the illness at epidemic levels in New York, according to the state Department of Health.
Between 2006-2008, 22,063 Long Islanders made emergency room visits to hospitals for asthma-related attacks.
“After a harsh winter people want to go out on those bright, sunny days. But those are the days with particularly high pollen counts,” said Westbury-based allergist Dr. Raphael Strauss. “And those are the days I see severe symptoms, such as sneezing, congestion and trouble breathing.”