MCG: ‘Be Prepared For Masters Pollen’

WNRR Augusta – (MCG Press Release)

Golf Spectators Should Prepare for Yellow on the Greens

Augusta, Ga. – Pollen has arrived in the South, and allergy sufferers
are experiencing symptoms. About a week before the prestigious Masters
Tournament, pine pollen will blanket the area in yellow, including the
greens. Fortunately, pine is a weak allergen, but highly potent pollen
from late-blooming trees and new grass will also be out in force. So,
Masters fans, be prepared.

“Masters visitors from up North where it is still cold are the most
vulnerable. Because the seasonal changes have not begun there as they
have here, travelers may not always think to bring along their allergy
medications,” said Dr. William Dolen, an Allergist/Immunologist for
MCGHealth, and a past president of the American College of Allergy,
Asthma and Immunology. “It’s best to start taking allergy medicines
about a week or two before coming down, because seasonal allergy
symptoms are easier to treat when caught early, before they get
severe.”

The tell-tale signs of allergic nasal disease are sneezing, dripping
and congestion, often associated with intensely itchy, watery eyes.
Allergy can also cause asthma.

“If you get here and start feeling miserable, don’t try to tough it
out,” said Dr. Dolen. “Untreated allergic rhinitis makes you feel
tired, sleepy and achy – almost like the flu. And feeling like that,
you
certainly won’t enjoy being out on the golf course. Of course,
untreated asthma is a medical emergency.”

Pre-medicating and continuing with your medicine is the best way to
stave off these allergies. If medications are forgotten when preparing
to attend the most famous golf event in the world, Dr. Dolen recommends
that visitors have their doctor back home call something in to a nearby
pharmacy. “It may take a little longer for full relief, but it’s
better than having no relief,” he said.  You may also see if a local
physician can squeeze you in and provide help.

Asthma patients cannot rely on over-the-counter remedies, but allergy
sufferers do have the option of purchasing an over-the-counter
solution,
such as a nose spray, decongestant or antihistamine. “Antihistamines
may have side effects such as sleepiness,” Dr. Dolen cautions.  “If
you’ll be driving to and from the course, do not take an
antihistamine
that causes drowsiness. Driving is difficult enough for the many guests
who are first-timers and unfamiliar with the area. Also golfers should
avoid these medications because they might adversely affect their
game.”

Don’t let pollen allergens spoil your fun. When making travel plans
to see golf in Augusta in April, prepare for the yellow on the greens.

MCG Health, Inc. (d/b/a MCGHealth) is a not-for-profit corporation
operating the MCGHealth Medical Center, MCGHealth Children’s Medical
Center, the Georgia Radiation Therapy Center, and related outpatient
facilities and services throughout the state.  For more information,
please visit mcghealth.org.

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