A season of suffering

April 18, 2002

BELIEVE IT or not, Baltimore does not rank among the nation's nastiest cities for spring allergies. The worst nasal congestion, sneezing and runny noses are caused by grass, oak and cedar pollen in Tampa, Fla., according to a survey by Harris Interactive. Among mid-Atlantic cities, Wilmington, Del., ranks 12th, Washington, D.C., 25th.

Baltimore's failure to make the list is small consolation. At a time when everyone should be enjoying the magnificent spring days, tens of thousands of Marylanders are joining some 35 million other Americans in the misery of coughing and sneezing.

Medical specialists claim that most allergic rhinitis, as the affliction is called, is easy to treat. Maybe it is, maybe it isn't. While many medicines and nasal sprays offer some relief, there is no panacea that works in everyone when gusts of wind usher in the hay fever season by spreading pollen.

Yet sufferers are trying; some steep fenugreek seeds in water. Butterbur also is said to have curative properties.

Allergy victims have our sympathy. The good news is that in time their troubles will be over. Nature will take its course. Rains will wash pollen away, discomforts will ease. Life will be worth living again.

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