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New Canaan Man Suffers Through Spring Allergies

If you had seen Thomas Williams about 10 days ago, you might not have recognized him. A seemingly pleasant walk in the woods near Easton with local Cub Scouts turned ugly after Williams suffered severe itching, reddening and puffiness in his eyes. The pain, he said, was intense. “It looked like I was in a fistfight,” said Williams, 48, recalling the walk gone wrong.

He was suffering from springtime allergies. While many New Canaan and Fairfield County residents are enjoying a warm and sunshine-filled spring, Williams and other allergy sufferers have had to cope with the itchy eyes, sneezing and nasal congestion that can come this time of year. Most of that pain is caused by tree-borne pollen, easily noticed in the yellow-greenish dust on many car hoods.

Williams said he had lived without allergies for most of his life. He admits that he joked about other people having allergies as a kid. “I never had any problems,” he said.

That changed about five years ago, when the spring left his eyes watery and caused him to sneeze. Still, it was nothing like what he went through last week. “I went to the doctor, and I was dying,” he said. Williams recalled the reaction of Dorrie Plotnick, manager of Varnum’s Pharmacy on Main Street. “She saw me and said ‘Oh my God!’” he said.

Plotnick said the pharmacy has seen its heaviest traffic in years with people seeking prescription and over-the-counter allergy medications, including Zatidor and Naphcon-A .  “A lot are getting eye drops and nasal sprays,” she said. “A lot of sneezing has been going on.”

Varnum pharmacist Charles Abraham said the allergy suffering is the worst he has seen in years. “People are trying to get rid of them in any way possible,” he said.

Williams went to his doctor, who gave him an injection of Depo-Medrol . He also received prescriptions for Clarinex and Vigamox, the latter for the conjunctivitis, better known as pinkeye, he contracted from rubbing his itchy eyes.

Williams’ face is now back to normal, and he’s thankful that his sons, Thomas, 7, and Robert, 5, haven’t suffered. “I had no idea how miserable it could be."

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