Hazy, windy weather bad news for allergy sufferers

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by Natalie Brand

azfamily.com

Posted on March 26, 2014 at 9:47 PM

Updated Wednesday, Mar 26 at 9:49 PM

PHOENIX -- You could see the haze hanging over the Valley Wednesday, and you could feel it in your lungs and in the allergy clinic.

“It makes my nose clog up so it makes my ears hurt and my sinuses right here hurt,” said Katie Cross, who has to get weekly allergy shots.

The windy, dusty weather that’s blown into the Valley this week has made matters even worse for people with allergies.

“I was at school, and I had to leave the playground once and go to the bathroom because it was so windy and it was itching my eyes,” Katie said.

“This year has been much worse for us,” said Ann Cross, Katie’s mom. “It started early and it’s been much more severe.”

Ann Cross and other Valley parents want to know, “What are we breathing into our bodies and what is it doing to us?”

“In Maricopa County, this part of the country tends to have some of the highest levels of particulate matter, pollution, dust … other things that can exacerbate respiratory conditions,” said Dr. Michael Saavedra of Phoenix Allergy and Asthma.

He said the poor air quality can be problematic for people with asthma, sinus allergies and skin allergies.

Long-term exposure can lead to issues such as chronic lung disease or even infections picked up in the air, like Valley Fever, he added.

It’s a serious concern for parents like Jennifer and Chris Kendall, who have baby twins.

“We definitely want to keep them indoors a lot more. You never know what’s in the air; it’s not just dust. You can get Valley Fever," Jennifer Kendall said.

During Tuesday’s dust storm, Chris Kendall received an alert on his phone and immediately relayed the information to his wife.

“Close up all the windows, bring the kids inside,” he told her. “There’s a big dust storm coming.”

After a day pent up indoors, the Kendalls needed a trip to Railroad Park in Scottsdale, but they took in this windy Wednesday in small doses.

“The air quality is definitely a concern considering all the dust and pollution this time of year,” said Chris Kendall. “It is concerning. We do take it seriously.”

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