Health Advice



Allergy news: Handling early sneezes and wheezes

By Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. on

Sneezing can be funny. Comedian Henny Youngman thought so: "When God sneezed, I didn't know what to say." But whatever you think about your sneezing and wheezing, as allergy season blooms, one thing's for sure -- it's arriving sooner and lingering longer with more intensity than ever before.

A new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reveals that the North American pollen season is up to 20 days longer than it was three decades ago. To make matters worse, the concentration of pollen in the air has increased 21%. Texas and the Midwest are the hardest hit.

Why is this happening? The study cites lab experiments indicating elevated temperatures and carbon dioxide concentrations from climate change have increased pollen production. It's also because of related changes in weather patterns, say researchers from Germany. Wind is now transporting pollen from far-flung places, making allergy season arrive earlier and delivering new pollen types to tickle your nose.

This pollen-palooza has far-reaching effects: It ups the number of emergency room visits for asthma sufferers and increases susceptibility to viral infections because of respiratory inflammation and a weakened immune response. The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology 2021 guidelines for managing allergies advise:

-- Use only second-generation antihistamines such as cetirizine (Zyrtec), levocetirizine (Xyzal), fexofenadine (Allegra), loratadine (Claritin) or desloratadine (Clarinex). Think twice, they say, before using Benadryl or Chlor-Trimeton.

-- Use intranasal corticosteroids (fluticasone, mometasone, budesonide, triamcinolone) for persistent allergy symptoms, including eye allergies.


-- Find an allergist in your area by going to


Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer Emeritus at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into "The Dr. Oz Show" or visit

(c)2021 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2021 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.



Barney & Clyde Kevin Siers Dana Summers Gary McCoy Bob Gorrell Chip Bok