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

2 minute read

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, 2014 Gary Wiepert—AP
Wil Fuentes posted this photo of a neighborhood completely covered in snow.Wil Fuentes (@wilfuen) via Instagram
Trixie Firecracker posted this image saying "Oliver is wondering when his backyard will be clear, he's not too happy with our 6 foot path. #snow #snowedin #winter #winterhasarrived #buffalo #716 #tellelsatoquitit #pit #pitbull #mybaby"Trixi Firecracker (@trixifirecracker) via Instagram
Angelo Carpenter posted this image to twitter, stating: "Took him 30 minutes to get to my house and he lives 3 houses down from me..."Angelo Carpenter (@Angelo_Pulvino) via Twitter
James Wisniewski posted this image to Instagram, saying "Welcome to Buffalo."James Wisniewski (@mr_wisniewski) via Instagram
David Jednat posted this image saying "First snow of the season. #buffalony #westernnewyork #slightflurries #gladihaveaplowguy"David Jednat (@davidjednat) via Instagram
David Rodriguez, of Buffalo, N.Y., posted this photo to Instagram, stating: "Mother digging her way to the car to retrieve some personal items. I grew up with winters like this. Pic via my brother, @izzyroyaleDavid Rodriguez (@idrod) via Instagram
Chelsea Tarasek posted this photo to Instagram, stating: "It's a winter wonderland!!"Chelsea Tarasek (@chelseatarasek) via Instagram
Scott Naauao posted this picture of "The morning snow."Scott Naauao (@naauao) via Instagram
Corey Reichle posted this photo showing the scene "Outside my door this morning."Corey Reichle (@CoreyReichle) via Twitter
Instagram user posted this image, saying "My current situation stuck n a blizzard!!!! Highways n road shut down we just stuck. #Buffalo #NY #Blizzard #IWantToGoHome"slickbossman (@slickbossman) via Instagram
Jackie Roach posted this photo to Instagram of her mom, saying "#mom and I should be out of the driveway by march or so. #buffalo #snowstorm #lakeeffect #southbuffalo #iloveit"Jackie Roach (@jacki_roach) via Instagram
James Yusczyk posted this photo after getting off work: "Got out of work 2 hours early thanks to the snow... Hi car..."James Yusczyk (@jamesyusczyk) via Instagram
Tanya Spar-Skipper (@tskippar) via Instagram
Fran shot this image from her home in South Buffalo, saying 'Mother Nature's way of saying "it's going to be just fine'"Fran Dyche(@frantastic_143) via Instagram

“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.”

See the Worst Place to Breathe in America

Bakersfield California Air Pollution Climate Change
A passenger train travels through town past a refinery in Bakersfield, Calif.Lexey Swall—GRAIN
Bakersfield California Air Pollution Climate Change
Oil pumps and scarred earth can be seen for miles in an area of North Bakersfield called the Bluffs. A Cogeneration Plant sits in the middle of the fields and is one of California's top polluters.Lexey Swall—GRAIN
Bakersfield California Air Pollution Climate Change
A dust storm blows through Bakersfield, Calif. Dust is a pervasive problem in the area.Lexey Swall—GRAIN
Bakersfield California Air Pollution Climate Change
Yareli Gonzalez, 7, suffers from asthma and receives two nebulizer treatments per day, indefinitely. Gonzalez lives in Shafter, a rural farming town in Kern County, Calif. Kern County sits at the southern end of the San Joaquin Valley, an area known for having the worst air in the nation due to dust, smog and high levels of ozone.Lexey Swall—GRAIN
Bakersfield California Air Pollution Climate Change
Asthma educator Sharon Borradori, left, shows Margarita Hernandez, center, and her husband, Severo Velasco, right, how their 2-year-old son, Mauricio Velasco will use an inhaler when he's older. Mauricio was recently released from the hospital after suffering from an extreme asthma attack. Lexey Swall—GRAIN
Bakersfield California Air Pollution Climate Change
Children practice sports on a field at Bakersfield High School which backs up against the train yard that runs through the middle of town in Bakersfield.Lexey Swall—GRAIN
Bakersfield California Air Pollution Climate Change
Young football players exercise on the stadium of Bakersfield High School. Bakersfield High is the oldest high school in town and the mascot, the Driller, is directly tied to area industry.Lexey Swall—GRAIN
Bakersfield California Air Pollution Climate Change
Benjamin Swall, 14, waits for his brother's football practice to end at Bakersfield High School.Lexey Swall—GRAIN
Bakersfield California Air Pollution Climate Change
Red Simspon, a country music legend and Bakersfield native, smokes a cigarette outside of the Rasmussen Senior Center in Oildale, north of Bakersfield. Lexey Swall—GRAIN
Bakersfield California Air Pollution Climate Change
Merced Mendoza moves irrigation pipe in a field that will be used to grow alfalfa. The field is adjacent to and owned by Kern Oil and Refining Co. Mendoza is a leader for a men's group at Victory Outreach Church in Bakersfield that rents the land from the refinery to grow alfalfa that is then sold to a local dairy for feed. The money earned from the feed helps fund the men's program for the church. This symbiotic relationship between resource companies and the community are played out throughout the region.Lexey Swall—GRAIN
Bakersfield California Air Pollution Climate Change
Percolation ponds fill up with runoff water from nearby Belridge Oil Fields in Eastern Kern County. As the water evaporates, leaving oil residue, hydrogen sulfide, methane and volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, are released in to the air.Lexey Swall—GRAIN
Bakersfield California Air Pollution Climate Change
Dust devils can be seen reaching toward the sky during dry months in Bakersfield. Dust is a pervasive problem that contributes to diminished air quality. The problem is exacerbated by the current drought in California.Lexey Swall—GRAIN
Bakersfield California Air Pollution Climate Change
Lucy Clark, 72, lives in the foothills north of Bakersfield. Her home sits at 2200 feet, which is about the elevation where the visible layer of smog begins to hang in the air. Because of this, Clark, who suffers from asthma, wears a mask every day she walks out to get the mail.Lexey Swall—GRAIN
Bakersfield California Air Pollution Climate Change
Elk Hills Power plant provides electricity to power Occidental Elk Hills oil field. Oxy's Elk Hills field is one of the largest oil fields in the United States and the natural gas power plant can produce 550 megawatts of electricity.Lexey Swall—GRAIN
Bakersfield California Air Pollution Climate Change
Samantha Olivarez, 9, left, and her cousin, Daisy Olivarez, 7, play in front of their home in Arvin, Calif. The homes across the street were evacuated after a gas pipe leaked underground. According to reports, the 40-year-old pipe was leaking for as long as two years before it was detected. Olivarez's family is worried about possible health risks in the area due to the pollution.Lexey Swall—GRAIN


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