Feeling a bit more congested this time of year? Noticing your eyes watering a bit more than usual? You are not alone. In the past couple of years, there has been an increase in the number people experiencing allergies.

“People who have never had allergies are starting to see symptoms,” Dr. Marc Goldstein, the Chief of Allergy & Immunology at Pennsylvania Hospital said. Recently, the Asthma & Allergy Foundation of America released a 2011 report of “The Most Challenging Places to Live with Fall Allergies.”

Philadelphia ranked 21 out of 100 metro areas.

Symptoms can spring up at any age. “After age 2 or 3, a child can develop respiratory responses because they are exposed to the outside more, but allergies can occur throughout life,” Dr. Goldstein added.

 

Allergies tend to run in the family. If both your parents have allergies, there is a 60 percent chance you will acquire them. If one parent is affected, you have a 30 to 40 percent chance of developing allergies.

What symptoms should you be looking for? “Congestion is the main symptom people experience. Sneezing, watery or red eyes, [coughing] and shortness of breath are among other symptoms people struggle with,” Dr. Goldstein said.

Allergies’ peak season

One major cause of allergies is mold spores. “This allergy peaks between February and March and falls off in September with the first frost,” Dr. Goldstein said. The fall pollinating season begins mid-August, peaks around Labor Day and goes until October. During this season, pollen allergies are at a high, coming from tress, grass and ragweed.

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