Region 8 Flooding Leads to Bad Allergy Problems This Year

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT)-- Predicting how bad an allergy season will be can be a tough call, but there are some general links with weather and unfortunately, when there is more rain, there is often more pollen.

Heavy rains and flooding-like what most of Region 8 has seen in the last week-can increase outdoor mold and this year's allergy season doesn't have a good outlook.

"The St. Francis River is just down the road from the house so there is a lot of flooding around," said Kennett resident James Graham.

While Region 8 continues to cleanup from last week's flooding, a new problem may be floating around this spring from the waters: allergies.

"It's terrible to people like me because I have real bad allergies and it's just bad," said Graham.

"Mold typically has to release to cause symptoms and once this water recedes and we have a drying out, we'll see a lot more problems from that," said allergist Dr. Scot Snodgrass Dr. Snodgrass says mold requires humidity to reproduce.

With flood waters causing a dramatic increase in mold reproduction, its likely mold spores will release once the flood waters recede.  Folks cleaning should take extra precaution.

"Especially in these mold situations you have to wear a mask and a respirator," said Dr. Snodgrass.

For allergy sufferers, relief can come in any form, from prescriptions, to over the counter relief, to even do it yourself home remedies like the neti pot. While the only sure way to treat the cause of allergies is injections, for patients like James Graham, his two shots a week make a huge difference in his quality of life.

"Now since I'm starting to get my allergy shots, it tends to calm down a lot more. But if I don't take these, it's hard to do anything. You're weak and you can't get outside because you see some flowers or some pollen floating around outside and it's just rough," said Graham.

More than one-third of people with hay fever, allergies, sinusitis, and asthma are allergic to molds, although many of them don't know it. Mold allergies affect all age groups, but older folks are more likely to suffer the most from worsening of asthma and other lung diseases when exposed to mold spores.