Tree pollen bringing allergy misery early this year

     Tree buds like these are seen in Trenton, N.J., in this AP file photo. That dreaded harbinger of spring, allergy season, has arrived, and for people already suffering from watery eyes, sniffles and cough. (Mel Evans/AP Photo, file)

    Tree buds like these are seen in Trenton, N.J., in this AP file photo. That dreaded harbinger of spring, allergy season, has arrived, and for people already suffering from watery eyes, sniffles and cough. (Mel Evans/AP Photo, file)

    There’s a downside to the record warm weather we had in February. The allergy season is getting an early start. 

    Dr. Catherine Monteleone is an allergist and a professor at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. She says buds on trees are appearing sooner than usual, and some people with tree pollen allergies are starting to suffer from sneezing, a stuffy nose, and itchy eyes.

     

    “A lot of medications are now over the counter. So, certainly those are tried first,” she said. “You need to start them early. You don’t want to wait until you’re miserable from your symptoms because then the medicines don’t seem to work quite as well. So, you want to use them preventively.”

    Monteleone says taking some precautions can help you prevent potential allergy problems.

    “You want to do simple things. Windows closed. Air conditioning on. No beautiful spring air for allergy sufferers unfortunately,” she said. “Don’t hang your clothes outside and then bring them in because that will bring pollen in with them. And if you are outside for a while, come in shower, change your clothes, and certainly wear sunglasses outdoors.”

    Just because the allergy season is beginning early, Monteleone says that doesn’t mean it will be one of the worst.

    “I hate to say that because if we get a very rainy spring then no it will not be because rain tends to wash the pollen out of the air. So, it not only depends on when the season starts but what the conditions are throughout the spring,” she said.

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