It’s been an unusually bad allergy season. Here’s why it may be getting worse

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Oak tree pollen (Emma Lee/WHYY News)

Oak tree pollen (Emma Lee/WHYY News)

It’s been an unusually bad season for allergy sufferers. There is more pollen in the air than normal for this time of year, and unfortunately, it may not get much better anytime soon.

To put this season into perspective, NewsWorks Tonight host Dave Heller paid a visit to Dr. Donald Dvorin, an allergist at the Asthma Center in Mount Laurel, New Jersey. He’s been doing a daily count of how much pollen is in the air – and what kind. Listen to the full interview by clicking the play button above.

Interview highlights

On why we’re seeing an onslaught of pollen this year:  

“We actually saw an overlap for the early pollinating trees and the late pollinating trees this year, and we believe it’s that March weather – that horrible snowfall that we had on multiple occasions. And that delayed the pollination of the trees by approximately 10 days.”

Dr. Donald Dvorin looks at pollen under a microscope (Emma Lee/ WHYY News)

On how climate change is impacting pollen count:

“When I cam here in the mid ’80s to ’90s, we had some tremendous pollen counts, especially ragweed. The ragweed has actually dropped off somewhat, but the tree pollen continues to climb, especially with global warming. We really feel there’s a basis for it because we now see some trees in the fall and we see some grass coming in the fall, as well as the spring. And that’s something I didn’t see before about 10 years ago, and it’s increasing every year.”

Dr. Donald Dvorin checks pollen count on the roof (Emma Lee/ WHYY News)

On how long the pollen surge could last: 

“I expect by next middle of next week we may be through the main part of the tree pollen season, which is oak pollen. However, our pine pollen may last until June, and we’re right at the edge of the Pinelands in this location, so our pine pollen is going to surge any day now.”

And here’s a video showing why this season has been particularly bad for allergy sufferers:

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