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Drought contributing to harsher allergies, poor air quality

GRASS AND SMOKY SKIES
KIFI

POCATELLO, Idaho (KIFI) - The drought much of the Northwest is experiencing is affecting East Idahoans breathing in more ways than one.

Smokey skies from the western wildfires is making it harder for some people to breathe.

“When we put the poor air quality on top of the seasonal allergens, it's really a double or triple whammy," said Dr. David Parry M.D., an allergy and immunology specialist at the Pocatello Allergy and Asthma Clinic.

Parry said his patients with breathing complications are struggling to breathe in this haze, but they're not the only ones.

“We're hearing even from people that have kind of seasonal allergies, that they're somewhat bothered in their chest and a lot of it has to do with the air quality," Parry said.

“Right now, we're just heading out of grass pollen season, and a lot of people were bothered, especially if they weren't taking proper medications and so forth.”

Dr. Morgan Yost D.O. at the Portneuf Medical Center's Ear Nose and Throat Clinic said his patients have noticed a harsher allergy season as well.

“This has been kind of a weird year for a lot of people with allergies, especially because we had such a mild winter. A lot of that hard freeze didn't kill a lot of the different weeds and molds and things that usually, you know, cause a lot of allergies," Yost said.

The smoke and poor air quality is also affecting Yost's patients with breathing complications.

“As an ear, nose and throat surgeon, the number one thing I see are people who come in with nasal congestion. They just feel like their nose is constantly obstructed. It's usually related to some sort of inflammation affecting the lining of the nose due to environmental allergens.”

Yost advises his patients to check the air quality index and limit outside exposure on bad days. For people who don't want to breathe allergens when they have to be outside, he suggests an N-95 mask instead of a bandana or a loose cloth mask.

For people who like to sleep with the windows open at night, Yost said that may be making your allergies worse.

“Unfortunately, for those that like to, its probably best to close the windows, keep the AC going. Changing your filters on the AC units to make sure that you're filtering out as much as we can. And again, just trying to limit your exposure to this air," Yost said.

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Emma Iannacone

Emma is a reporter for Local News 8 and KIDK Eyewitness News 3.

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