I am interested in finding out what are the projected duration of the current pollen season and it’s expected intensity. Since the warmer than normal winter and spring so far has caused an early launch of the pollen this year, does it then follow that the season will be of normal duration (ie will end earlier due to the earlier start) or is it expected be longer? All these types of questions that would be posed by the typical allergy/asthma sufferer are of interest to me – submitted by George, Bel Air, Maryland
[Response from Lois (AllergyNurse)]: Excellent question and perfect timing, George! I have been monitoring this all year. By mid-February, many were already lamenting the early allergy season and, unfortunately, most agree this also means a longer and more intense dusting of pollen is in store for us this year as well.
For example, in this February 14th NBC Nightly News report, Dr. Stanley Fineman of Alanta Allergy & Asthma Clinic says the high pollen counts that were not seen last year until around the 20th of February were notable the day after Groundhog day (February 2) this year. In the same report, a spokesperson from Georgia’s Callaway Gardens noted that azaleas were blooming about a month early this year.
In this February 16th WPRI Eyewitness News report from in Providence, RI, Warwick allergist Dr. David Katzen warned, “…with tree pollen starting earlier, pollen should also be in the air longer. That means…people who have never had allergies before could experience symptoms for the first time.”
A week later, we noted these headlines on the February 24th, NBC4 Columbus, Ohio, newscast: Early and Long Allergy Season Ahead.
On February 24th, ABC News4 in Charleston, SC, ended it’s report with this warning: “Experts say just because the pollen season started early doesn’t mean that it will end early.”
Fast forward to this April 8, Toledo Blade report (Toledo, Ohio), where Dr. M. Razi Rafeeq, president of the Toledo Allergy Society with offices in Maumee and Oregon, is quoted as saying, “This year, patients started coming into Toledo area allergists’ offices for shots and other treatments about a month earlier than normal.” Dr. Rafeeq also echos a similar report to others we have seen, that “he has patients in their 50s and 60s who had seasonal allergy problems years ago, got better, but are having problems again because the season is more intense.
Just two days ago, April 9, WREG News3 in Memphis, TN, headlined their report like this: Allergy Season Longer, Stronger. This story reports that Dr. Barry Politi of Horn Lake’s Family and Urgent Care Clinic “says the severely allergic can expect to have problems off and on perhaps all summer.”
I plan to share more about this in an upcoming post.