Pittsburgh's Pollen Counts At National Allergy Bureau's Highest Possible LevelBy Pam Surano

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Many allergy sufferers say it’s as if the whole city is walking around with a cold.

Pollen counts in Pittsburgh are at the highest levels that can be measured by the National Allergy Bureau.

No matter the weather, rain or shine, if you suffer from seasonal allergies, chances are your suffering this year has been far worse.

“Usually, it’s just one or two weeks, but this year, it’s been like a whole month,” Rohun Joseph, who suffers from season allergies, said.

“When it’s about to rain, for all of us in our family, it seems to be a little bit worse,” Amy Bonner said.

Dr. Merritt Fajt, an allergist and immunologist at UPMC Montefiore Hospital, says the weather has definitely been a factor.

Fajt says the rain contributed to a more vibrant blooming season of pollen, trees and grasses, but mold as well.

“Today and even yesterday, we’ve had levels of mold pollen that were as high as levels of trees and grass,” Fajt said.

For those who have not only seasonal allergies, but year-round mold allergies, it compounds symptoms.

“I’ve woken up many times, like, just completely congested, can’t breathe at all, sneezing constantly,” Joseph said.

“This week, it’s been the trees that are probably most severe, and last week, it was actually the grass, but the mold levels are quite high,” Fajt said.

If staying indoors isn’t an option and medicines don’t work, it may be time to think about allergy shots.

“Allergy immunotherapy can be beneficial to actually help ramping down your immune system, so over time, you’re less allergic to the specific things you’re allergic to,” Fajt said.

Treatments should last several years and benefits often take six months to take effect, so plan ahead so next year is better than this one.