Navigation Links
'Off-the-Charts' Pollen Counts Bring Misery to Millions

Recent weather patterns plus climate change driving the trend, experts say

FRIDAY, April 16 (HealthDay News) -- A cold winter followed by a sudden and sustained warming trend, not to mention the botanical blossoming that global warming has brought, has boosted pollen counts to near-record highs across the United States this spring, experts say.

All of that has led to one of the most miserable allergy seasons in recent memory for the 50 million Americans who find themselves suffering itchy eyes, runny noses and scratchy throats this time of year.

"In Atlanta, we recently saw the second highest pollen count ever -- 5,733. A level of 1,500 is considered very high, so this was off the charts," explained meteorologist Carl Parker, from The Weather Channel. Pollen counts are measured in grains of pollen per cubic meter in a sample that's collected over a 24-hour period.

As so often happens, weather is largely to blame.

"Timing is everything and, in a lot of years, you might have bouts of warm followed by cold. This year, across a lot of the country, we were cold for a long time, and then the air pattern warmed and it was like we flipped a switch," Parker said.

Adding to the problem "is the same system that's bringing in the warm air has also been blocking rainstorms from coming in, and normally, rain comes through and knocks the pollen down, clearing things out," he said.

The pollen problem is primarily affecting areas east of the Rocky Mountains, said Parker. In the west, he noted, there are still areas that are getting snow.

Another factor in the increased pollen counts is climate change. Parker said that concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) have increased in the past 100 years, and plants thrive on increasing levels of CO2. "Some types of pollens have doubled because of climate change," said Parker.

"CO2 is good for plants and they're making more pollen," agreed Dr. David Rosenstreich, director of the division of allergy and immunology at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City. In addition, he said, "Pollen seasons are lengthening a little bit because of global warming."

Still, Rosenstreich said that counts will vary from year to year, and although they're particularly high right now, they may not stay that way for the whole allergy season.

One bit of good news for allergy sufferers is that the allergy season is "on fast-forward," he said. "It's all happening right now." Most of the tree pollens should start to decrease in the next couple of weeks.

Whatever the pollen count, Rosenstreich stressed that there's no need to suffer through allergy symptoms. "We have medicines that can help," he said.

If you're taking preventive medications for your allergies, Rosenstreich said that it's important to take them in advance and as directed by your doctor.

"Most allergy medicines work better to prevent allergic symptoms than to treat them when they're in progress," he explained.

Both Rosenstreich and Parker had other tips for those with allergies on high pollen count days:

  • Stay indoors as much as possible. But, be sure to keep your windows closed so the pollen doesn't get in. Parker said that if you must go out, it's best to avoid the morning hours because pollen is much worse then.
  • Keep your windows closed and run your air conditioner. It doesn't need to be set to cool, just to filter the air. Make sure the filters for your air condition are clean, however.
  • Use the air conditioning in your car to filter the air.
  • If you have to do yard work, Parker suggested wearing a mask to help cut down on the amount of pollen you'll breathe in.

And, finally, with a suggestion that's sure to make mothers across America happy, Parker said he'd recently heard that eating certain vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts might lessen allergy symptoms.

More information

Check the pollen counts where you live, by visiting the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

SOURCES: Carl Parker, on-air meteorologist, The Weather Channel, Atlanta; David Rosenstreich, M.D., director, division of allergy and immunology, Montefiore Medical Center, New York City

Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Launches Features to Customize Allergy Information - Top Allergy Web Site Provides ZIP-specific Allergy Information and Diary to Track Symptoms
2. Reports Five U.S. Cities with Highest Pollen Activity -- Total Prescriptions for Allergy Medications 3.7% Higher than Last Year
3. Senate Restrictions on Flexible Spending Accounts Spur New Campaign
4. Save Flexible Spending Plans Applauds Amendment to Protect Flexible Spending Accounts
5. bioMerieux Selects Brainware to Automate Accounts Payable
6. Corporate Vision Discounts Making Corrective Surgery More Affordable
7. Launches Website With the Cheapest Supplements Prices and Fastest Shipping
8. Research findings expected to ease treatment of low neutrophil counts in cancer patients
9. DynGlobal and Project Hope Partner to Bring Permanent Clean Water Solutions to Devastated Haiti
10. Discovery Healths New Year, New You Week Brings Transformation and Inspiration to the Resolution Season
11. Aprima and Iatric Systems Partnership Brings Electronic Health Record and Practice Management Solution to MEDITECH Providers
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... ... innovative online platform for mental health and wellness consultation, has collaborated with a ... will bridge the knowledge gap experienced by parents and bring advice from parenting ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... , ... Avid collector, Andrew Hawley from Vintage Rock Posters, announces his search ... one of Joplin's most famous and beautiful concert posters. The concert was held on ... Arbor. The According to Hawley, "It is hard to believe that Joplin's stardom was ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... November 26, 2015 , ... ... a real-time eReferral system for diagnostic imaging in the Waterloo region. Using the ... and Nuclear Medicine tests directly from their electronic medical record (EMR) without the ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... Antonio, TX (PRWEB) , ... November 26, 2015 , ... ... On November 19, 2015, our surgeons performed their 6,000th free flap breast reconstruction ... , “We wake up every day excited to rebuild lives and it’s an honor ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... ... 2015 , ... Indosoft Inc., developer and distributor of the world-class Asterisk based ... efficiency and reliability. , The new Q-Suite 6 platform is based on the latest ... itself into a specific piece of software for many key components of the suite. ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/26/2015)... 26, 2015 ... "Radioimmunoassay Market by Type (Reagents & ... Academics, Clinical Diagnostic Labs), Application (Research, Clinical ... 2020" report to their offering. ... addition of the "Radioimmunoassay Market by ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... , Nov. 25, 2015  The American ... and Gynecologists (ACOG), and the March of Dimes ... Protecting Our Infants Act of 2015 ... number of newborns born exposed to drugs, such ... the bill,s introduction, all three organizations have worked ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... MELVILLE, N.Y. , Nov. 25, 2015  Henry ... products and services to office-based dental, medical and animal ... Dental (GNYDM) Meeting the Henry Schein ConnectDental® Pavilion ... industry,s broadest array of open solutions designed to help ... Click here for a schedule of ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: