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Warm weather and spring like temperatures are causing trees like these crab apple trees to be in full bloom along University ave near the CU campus in Boulder, Colorado on April 6, 2015.
Helen H. Richardson—The Denver Post

Here's Why Allergy Season Might Be Especially Unpleasant This Spring

Apr 07, 2015
TIME Health
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There's one more downside to winters that seems to drag on: allergy season is intensified.

Tree pollen levels may reach unusually high levels in the coming weeks because persistent colder temperatures delayed some trees from pollinating last month, according to allergy experts. Since not all trees pollinate at the same time — maple, cedar and elm trees, for example, pollinate early — the delays result in a large amount of trees pollinating at once.

"You may even see clouds of pollen being released over the next several weeks, where there will be almost a green mist," Dr. Leonard Bielory, an allergy specialist at the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, N.J., told CBS New York last week.

Experts say those living in the New England region — which saw its "last hurrah" winter storm in March — might want to pay particular attention to pollen levels, though any region that's been slow to warm up this year may be affected.

These Photos From Buffalo's Snowstorm Will Make You Want to Stay Inside Until Spring

Wintry Weather New York
A band of storm clouds moves across Lake Erie and into Buffalo, N.Y., on Nov. 18, 2014Gary Wiepert—AP
Wintry Weather New York
A band of storm clouds moves across Lake Erie and into Buffalo, N.Y., on Nov. 18, 2014
Gary Wiepert—AP
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"The general principle is the same: in the spring, wherever you are, whenever it becomes temperate, trees start to emit their pollen," Dr. Rachel Miller, chief of pediatric allergy, immunology and rheumatology at Columbia University Medical Center, told TIME.

So what can you do to avoid the runny noses, itchy eyes and headaches? There are the classic over-the-counter allergy pills like Zyrtec and Claritin, but for those that suffer from more severe allergies, this spring might be the perfect time to finally get checked out.

"Certainly people can visit their allergists," said Dr. Miller, "who can help make sure that they're doing certain behaviors to try to minimize exposure when, say, they're exercising or jogging in the park — as well as medical management, or possibly immunotherapy."

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A passenger train travels through town past a refinery in Bakersfield, Calif.Lexey Swall—GRAIN
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A passenger train travels through town past a refinery in Bakersfield, Calif.
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