Long winter may affect allergy season

Blooming flowers outside of Mahar Hall, Photo by Marlena Montero

Spring is in the air, and so are billions of tiny pollen that trigger allergy symptoms in millions of people. This year in particular, the long winter has had more of an effect on seasonal allergies than usual.

Due to this year’s long stretch of chilly temperatures, the blooming of trees have been delayed. According to Dr. Elizabeth Burns, Nurse Practitioner and Director at SUNY Oswego’s Mary Walker Health Center, as the weather is finally warming up, trees are expected to bloom at the same time as grasses, causing a huge rise in pollen levels.

Listen to Dr. Elizabeth Burns’ advice on how to take care of yourself during allergy season:

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“Typically it’s the pollen in the trees that first develops early in the season, around March, followed by grasses in May,” says Dr. Burns, “But with this new development, if you’re somebody who has both tree allergies and grass allergies, you might be hit harder than most people.”

Doctors refer to the condition of seasonal allergies as “seasonal allergic rhinitis” or hay fever. About 7 percent of adults had been told in the past 12 months that they had hay fever, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Symptoms of these allergies can include stuffy and runny noses, watery and itchy eyes, sneezing, and wheezing, especially on days with high counts of pollen.

Credit to Susan Kosisky, U.S. Army Centralized Allergen Extract Lab

Those who experience seasonal allergies, have been trying to figure out ways to deal with the rise in pollen, in their own way.

“After talking to my doctor, I’ve been taking allergy pills to help me out with my itchy eyes and nose,” says student at SUNY Oswego, Roger Devers. “But I’m thinking about taking allergy shots so that all this pollen doesn’t trigger my asthma.”

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The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, an array of antihistamines and decongestants that are proven useful to relieve pollen related allergy symptoms.

Dr. Elizabeth Burns says that changing your clothes after you’ve come from outside and taking a shower can help the pollen stay out of your home and off your body.

For updates on the daily pollen count, visit pollen.com.