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Significant early allergy season making Utahns miserable

Posted at 5:27 PM, Apr 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-28 19:27:35-04

SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah — Allergy sufferers are miserable across the state as pollen counts reach extremely high rates.

On a nice day, Daniel Ethington and Rachel Rawlinson would like to take their three-year-old to the park but they can’t.

Both parents are feeling the effects of high pollen counts even while taking daily medication.

"Lots of sneezing is going on at our house,” Rachel said. “My toddler has learned to say bless you every time he hears someone sneeze.”

“This is a significant early allergy season,” said Dr. Duane Harris, Intermountain Allergy and Asthma Draper.

Dr. Duane Harris analyzes pollen numbers every day at his clinic in Draper. He said, because of the lack of rain, tree pollen is higher than it’s been over the last two or three years.

“This year, the pollen count just went up and they’ve stayed there. We’ve had high to very high pollen uninterrupted for weeks,” Dr. Harris said.

Right now, juniper is listed as very high. Mulberry is high and below that, birch, sycamore and oak.

In some patients, especially those with asthma, Dr. Harris said allergy symptoms can look a lot like COVID-19.

“I’m coughing and then because everything that’s going on, if anybody hears you coughing, everybody panics. It’s just allergies. It’s just okay,” Rawlinson said.

Yet, the best advice for allergy sufferers is the same for COVID-19: stay in your home.

Veterinarians say they, too, are seeing more cats and dogs suffering with allergies.