Allergies won’t wait for warm weather this year
While temperatures haven’t felt spring-like yet in Chicago, that hasn’t kept spring allergies away – just ask one of the millions of people who suffer from allergic rhinitis (hay fever).
Experts have predicted 2015 will be one of the worst pollen seasons in some time due to several factors, including temperature.
A study focusing on the relationship between climate and pollen production concluded that summer temperatures in the year before flowering, as well as temperature during the flowering season, are the primary climate variables that determine the annual pollen influx of wind-pollinated plants.
Heavy winter precipitation can also contribute to higher pollen production the following spring. Since there was a significant amount of snowfall and freezing rain this past winter, Illinoisans may experience a particularly irritating pollen season.
“Pollen is arguably the largest trigger of spring allergy symptoms,” says Dr. Newton Li, allergist/immunologist at Advocate Dreyer Medical Clinic in Aurora, Ill. “For my patients, or anyone who suffers from seasonal allergies, I recommend keeping an eye on local pollen counts and alerts to anticipate when outdoor activities might cause more exposure and the need for medication – or possibly even a change in activity plans.”
Pollen consists of microscopic grains released into the air by various trees, plants, and flowers. When someone who is allergic inhales these particles into their nose, their body releases histamine which causes symptoms such as runny nose, sneezing and itchy eyes.
To check local pollen forecasts, visit the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology or download their pollen count app for smartphones.
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