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Warm Weather Triggers Early Allergy Season
Date:3/30/2012

By Serena Gordon
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, March 30 (HealthDay News) -- While unseasonably warm weather delights many people, those with allergies may not be as thrilled with the early arrival of spring.

Arriving along with those beautiful blooms is plenty of pollen that has hay-fever sufferers sneezing at least a few weeks sooner than normal.

And, in some areas, not only is the season starting early, but the pollen counts are breaking records. Several days ago, Atlanta's pollen count reading was 9,369 particles of pollen per cubic meter, which is 55 percent higher than the old record high set in 1999. Normally, anything above 1,500 is considered high in the Atlanta area, according to the American College of Asthma, Allergy and Immunology (ACAAI).

"Tree pollen in some parts of eastern U.S. started in early February, which is about three to four weeks early, and some areas have had record high counts for days and weeks. For the one in four people who has allergies, this is having a cumulative effect. The longer you get exposure, the worse the problem becomes," explained Dr. James Sublett, an allergist and spokesman for the ACAAI.

He said mold counts haven't been high yet, but normally in the winter, mold is gone once the ground freezes. "We've had some mold counts in the moderate range here in Louisville, Ky., and because of the nice weather people are outside more. Again, it's that continuous exposure that makes allergies even worse."

And, humans aren't the only ones enjoying the warmer weather. Ticks and mosquitoes that are normally dormant at this time of the year are already active, according to Richard Ostfeld, a senior scientist with the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, N.Y.

"Adult ticks have been active all winter long. The warm winter weather changed their behavior, but so far there's no evidence that it's changed their abundance. And, given the mildness of the wint
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