Expect a rough and early start to allergy season in Northeast Ohio

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - It's never too early to try and predict what allergy sufferers could be facing this spring.

According to Dr. Tina Abraham, a Senior Allergy and Immunology Fellow with University Hospitals, this year will be a little hard to predict.

"This winter was erratic, however, in terms of this rapid warming that we are experiencing now, it is fair to anticipate a rough early start to tree pollen season," Dr. Abraham said.

Pollen is given off by trees, flowers, plants, even grass when with the start of the spring growing process.

The dust like particles of pollen are so fine they travel very easily through the air making it easy for you to breath them into your lungs.

There are a number of conditions in the spring that make some years worse than others according to Dr. Abraham:

  • Length of growing season- long growing seasons may be a good thing for those with a green thumb, but it means increased misery for those who suffer with allergies as it increases the time pollen is present
  • Fluctuant weather- a warmer than usual winter makes the trees pollinate earlier. If the weather in the spring time fluctuates between warm and cold it can lead to intense times of pollen release during the warm spells (because this is when plants get the hint to start to grow!).
  • Wind- wind spreads all the pollen which makes it allergy symptoms worse for allergy sufferers
  • Rain- heavy rainfall (a wet spring) promotes plant growth later on, meaning more pollens later on. Rain can be a good thing for the fact that it can help clear the air of the flying pollen that causes all of the allergy symptoms.

What should you be doing to prepare:

If you're one of the effected there are things you should be doing now and in the coming weeks to minimize you're exposure according to Dr. Abraham.

  • Keep pollen outside where it belongs! Patients can keep windows closed during pollen season especially during the day time, keep their windows up when driving, and when they do have prolonged exposure to the pollens outside, make sure they wash their hands and shower to keep the pollen out.
  • Check pollen counts to plan daily activities: Remember that pollen counts are highest in the morning. Pollen counts can be found online. The Academy of Medicine of Cleveland and Northern Ohio keeps track at at this site: www.amcno.org Also sites like Pollen.com can give count numbers and five day forecasts.
  • At the first sign of symptoms: Start your allergy medications, especially nasal sprays, as recommended by your allergist to be proactive rather than reactive.

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