The Internet becomes next Nostradamus for allergy season
While it's believed that Nostradamus' prophecies predicted many historical events, his digital successor, the Internet, may be foreseeing the height of allergy suffering. According to allergist Leonard Bielory, M.D., American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) board member, Google search volume is shedding light on the most common allergy symptoms, when searches peak and how they pertain to pollen types.
In his research, being presented at the ACAAI Annual Scientific Meeting, Dr. Bielory found that, due to tree pollens, nasal allergy symptoms are the most common searches from March through May. Symptoms include sneezing, a runny and itchy nose, and stuffiness due to blockage or congestion.
"Allergy sufferers experience heighted allergy symptoms in the spring season, and again during September due to weed pollen and grass season," said Dr. Bielory. "The peak week for all allergy symptom searches is the second week of May, suggesting sufferers may be experiencing both spring and summer allergy symptoms."
Nasal allergy symptoms were also commonly searched during the fall months. The second most common symptom, based on search volume, is eye allergies.
With spring allergy season being only four short months away, the ACAAI advises sufferers to schedule an appointment with their board-certified allergist during the winter months to find relief.
"Treating symptoms early, before they appear, means less suffering," said Dr. Bielory. "An allergist will develop a customized treatment plan to keep you living an active, healthy lifestyle."
According to an ACAAI patient survey, board-certified allergists are successful in treating up to 90 percent of patients with seasonal allergies and 70 to 80 percent with perennial allergies.