Allergy season to last longer this year

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The 2011 allergy season is expected to be 27 days longer in the northernmost parts of North America, adding almost a month of suffering to the typical pollen allergy season of February through October, a study published Tuesday by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences determined.

The longer allergy season could be particularly rough on eye allergy sufferers, suggested Johnson & Johnson Vision Care. "Eye allergies affect 1-in-every-5 individuals, and it is estimated that 50% of individuals with seasonal and indoor allergies also experience some degree of ocular allergy," stated Paul Karpecki, clinical director for the Koffler Vision Group.

Karpecki suggested consumers figure out the cause of their allergies and then try to avoid the trigger. “[For example,] if pollen is what bothers you, try to stay indoors and minimize the amount of time you are in the wind, which blows allergens around,” he suggested.

Allergy season is particularly challenging for some contact lens wearers because allergens and other irritants can build up on contacts over time, leading to discomfort and such symptoms as itching, tearing and redness. "Putting a clean, fresh lens into the eye each day minimizes the potential for the buildup of irritants that occur with repeated use of the same pair of lenses,” Karpecki said.

Karpecki also suggested allergy sufferers take more frequent showers to wash away allergens and turn off ceiling fans at night, as allergens and dust are easily picked up by a fan.

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