Birch pollen inundating region just warmup act for storm of oak pollen

Dr. Leonard Bielory

Dr. Leonard Bielory

The nice spring days we’re having now might want to make you spend a lot of time outside. But that can be troubling if you have allergies.

Dr. Leonard Bielory, an allergy specialist who tracks the pollen count in New Jersey, said birch trees are now producing high amounts of pollen.

“It’s robust, and it’s going to get stronger, and even the people [with mild allergies] are going to start feeling it this week,” he said. “And next week, they’re going to be tearful and sneezy.”

After the birch pollen peaks, Bielory said, expect oak pollen counts to soar.

“So as soon as the birch pollen peaks and you think you’re free, oak pollen is also going to take off from single digits to triple digits to thousands of pollen grains,” he said. “That will be in the last week of April and the beginning of May.”

Then grass pollen will start to rise, but he’s not sure how severe that will be.

If you have seasonal allergies, Bielory advises taking your medication now instead of waiting until you have symptoms.

Over the past 25 years, he said, more people have developed allergies.

“People used to be allergic to one item. Now there are twice as many people allergic to one item. Not only that. They’re now allergic to two, three, four items,” Bielory said. “Those people who have those allergies with the nose and eyes have a three times likelihood to develop asthma.”

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