By John Shumway


PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – So have you been enjoying this fall weather in December?

Road crews and school administrators have. Ski slopes and those who plow parking lots for a living not so much. And allergy doctors are working overtime to handle the influx of patients.

Dr. Richard Green of Allergy and Asthma Associations of Pittsburgh says the lack of a cold snap and piles of snow has allowed the growth of outdoor mold. The spores taking wing and causing the outbreak of sneezing and sniffling are normally suppressed this time of year by a mantel of white.

“We are all coughing, the dry air, the dry noses,” says Linda Temple. “There is also some snoring going on that doesn’t normally go on.”

Mary Beth Allen’s son Michael stayed home from school Monday.

“The last four days he’s been sneezing and coughing a lot,” she said.

Donnesha Coleman has seen it in her son too.

“A little sneezing, runny nose, swelling of the eyes,” she said.

“This is not an issue of pollen,” says Dr. Green. “The only allergen out there now is mold.”

But, he adds, there are other things that typically set off allergy sufferers this time of year.

“With live Christmas trees in the house, that brings mold into the house and that stirs up allergies,” he said, “and the scents of Christmas and the holiday season scented candle, greenery in the house is a problem.”

Dr. Green says the over-the-counter allergy medicines are effective, but there is one other thing you should do to reduce the warm weather mold from getting to your allergy sufferer.

“Resist the urge to open the windows,” he said. “With the temperatures near 70 degrees, you might want to let some outside air in. Try not to do that, keep windows closed.”

Even allergy sufferers and those who have sufferers in their families agree with Vern Johns from Kittanning.

“I’d rather hang on to the warm weather and let them take their medicines and inhalers and work their way through it,” he said.

It will take about three days of frigid weather to eliminate the outdoor mold spores, which will come right back if we hit another warm spell.

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