In regions impacted this year by severe winter snow and ice storms, Spring weather couldn’t come soon enough. But just as we begin to enjoy the longer, warmer days and some much-needed sunshine – allergy season strikes. This year’s allergy season is coming on early and strong.
According to a recent Washington Post report, Spring leaves appeared up to 20 days early in the eastern half of the United States and the South experienced its earliest arrival of Spring in forty years. High pollen counts naturally followed and in D.C., tree pollen reached a record high in February.
In addition to increased pollen levels, in areas that had a milder winter, mould spores may not have frozen over, resulting in an earlier mould season as well. Now that people have returned in large numbers to in-person school and work, increased air pollution from traffic exhaust particles, combined with pollen, can create worse symptoms for allergy sufferers. People who also have asthma can experience severe symptoms during “mega-events” when pollen levels are high and winds carry more allergens. And the onset of allergy symptoms can occur at any age, not just in childhood.
Although pollen plumes can be hard to predict, Pollen Wise is able to forecast three days ahead of a ripening. Knowing your allergens and the wind conditions, as well as the pollen report, can help people with allergies plan their day. Many people also try to prevent and treat pollen allergies with immunization shots and medication.
With global warming, pollen and pollen allergies may potentially worsen over time as plants bloom earlier and for longer. Concentrations of pollen have also increased in recent years and researchers have found higher levels of carbon dioxide may boost photosynthesis, leading trees and plants to produce more pollen.
Dr. Jennifer Ashton reports that certain foods allergies can make seasonal allergies appear worse. In addition, wine contains histamines and sulfites that can mimic allergies so it’s important to be aware and know what is behind the allergic reactions, especially before taking medications.