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Brace Yourselves: Spring Allergy Season Is Coming. Here's What to Expect and How to Handle It

Brace Yourselves: Spring Allergy Season Is Coming. Here's What to Expect and How to Handle It
From TIME - April 11, 2018

A swath of the Northeast and mid-Atlantic, which had been continuously pummeled by winter stormseven in Aprilwill be graced with warm weather later this week. After a seemingly interminable winter, itss a chance to dig out lighter clothing and head outside into the sun.

But, if youre one of the roughly 7% of U.S. adults with seasonal allergies, you may want to stay inside a little longer. With the change in seasons comes spring allergies (followed by summer allergies).

Heres what you need to know about the upcoming allergy forecast.

Is it going to be a bad allergy season this year?

Predictions are mixed, but it could be. Some experts have suggested that because of the Northeasts prolonged winter, tree pollen allergy season may be shorter, but more intense. However, Dr. Rachel Miller, director at the division of pediatric allergy, immunology and rheumatology at Columbia University Medical Center, said there are lots of factors at playincluding tree species and precipitation levels (which tend to clear out airborne allergens).

I dont think theres 100% certainty on this, Miller says. There would be a concern that because of the delay in pollination, the pollen will start to to become airborne at the same time, as opposed to being spread out over a longer period of time. So it may be shorter, but it may be more intense. Yet that is difficult to predict, she says, because not all tree species are the same.

And while AccuWeather senior meteorologist Alan Reppert said that there might be a rapid ramp-up of pollen levels in the Northeast, when the temperature rises, it may not be more than usual. It might a little bit higher, Reppert said, but due to expected rainfall, it doesnt look like its going to be a rapid ramp-up to above average. Were looking at probably near-normal pollen levels for much of the Northeast into the Midwest also.

For some parts of the country, including Florida and Georgia, allergy season arrived in mid-March and peaked at the end of the month, according to AccuWeather, while the Northeast and mid-Atlantic have been spared thus far due to snow, wet weather and lower temperatures.

The pollen levels may take until April or even early May to really increase over parts of Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey, Reppert said in a report for AccuWeather.

When will allergy season be at its worst?

A chart from AccuWeather predicts when allergy season is likely to peak across the country. For parts of the South, the peak has already hit. For other areas of the South, peak allergens are expected to hit at the end of April, and according to AccuWeather, tree pollen allergies will be followed up with grass pollen, which should tamp down at the end of June. For the mid-Atlantic and Northeast, late May and late June will see peak allergies.

Why do seasonal allergies happen in the first place?

How can I help my allergies?

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