Spring Allergies 2021 And Covid
Youre going to hear this a lot: I cant tell if this is allergies or COVID. Go ahead and get ready for it. And if you dont have a thermometer, now is a good time to get one. Coughing, sore throats and feeling tired can be symptoms of both allergies and COVID-19. But typically seasonal allergies arent associated with a fever. So if youre running a fever, your issue is likely not from allergies.
But rest assured: This doesnt mean you have COVID-19. You can contact your doctor or urgent care facility to be sure. Of course, following CDC guidelines is always a good idea when it comes to preventing and dealing with COVID-19.
The good news: Wearing masks will likely translate to less allergy symptoms for many people. If you wear a mask outdoors, youll protect your nose and mouth from airborne particles. Be sure to wash or clean your mask, or if you use disposable masks, change them more frequently during allergy season.
Persistently High Pollen Counts After Slow Start
According to data from the U.S. Army Centralized Allergen Extract Lab in Forest Glen, Md., tree pollen counts first hit moderate levels on March 3. Before that, levels were depressed by unusually chilly February weather. But by the second week of March, counts quickly bounced to high and even very high levels in the second week of the month, climaxing on March 11, due to a sudden spike in temperatures.
Since the first high-pollen day , on March 9, the D.C. area has piled up at least 28 days of high or very high tree pollen, an unrelenting attack.
Unfortunately for those suffering from sniffles, the mid-March pollen peak wasnt driven by the trees that typically send counts soaring. Rather, it resulted from early blooming species that erupted from the sudden arrival of warm weather.
Temperature, sunshine and timing were right to set our cedar/cypress/juniper pollen counts soaring, Susan Kosisky of the U.S. Army lab wrote in an email, referring to the March 11 spike.
Kosisky, a microbiologist, noted that when temperatures reached the 80s later in March, pollen counts reached only 241.21 among those tree species, indicating they already shed much of their pollen by then. Presently, those early trees are only giving off a tiny fraction of pollen compared to last month.
But now, were dealing with oaks, which, along with their cousins pine, mulberry and sycamore, normally drive our peak tree pollen levels each spring.
For now? Keep the allergy meds flowing.
What Is A Pollen Allergy And What Are Its Symptoms
A pollen allergy may include reactions to weed, grass, and tree pollens. No matter which type of pollen gives you the sniffles, its often powder-like and yellow in color. Plants and flowers need pollen to grow and thrive, and it can be passed along through animals, insects, and the wind, whether knowingly or unknowingly.
The most common type of pollen allergy is ragweed, also known as weed pollen. At least 23 million people in the United States have a ragweed allergy. Ragweed is a plant with multiple species. In fact, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology , in the US alone, youll find 17 different species of the plant.
With a pollen allergy, you should anticipate symptoms like wheezing, scratchy or itchy eyes and throat, watery eyes, a runny and leaking nose, congestion in the face and throat, and sneezing. These symptoms are almost identical to those of a ragweed allergy. With that allergy, you may also have to contend with irritated eyes and headaches in addition to the above symptoms.
Pollen allergy symptoms will not typically begin until you are in an environment where the pollen counts are high. If you already have asthma, you need to be extra careful. Lingering in pollen-heavy environments can lead to wheezing and coughing.
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Go On The Defensive: Limiting Pollen Indoors
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic’s best efforts, people go outside. But with tree pollen flying around basically everywhere even in urban areas that tend to have fewer trees coming into contact with pollen is inevitable, too.
Anytime you set foot outdoors, “there are going to be tree pollens that will be getting onto your clothes and you’ll be bringing those pollens in the house,” Little said.
There are common-sense steps you can take to protect yourself, Little said beyond simply limiting time outside right when warmer weather returns.
The first is probably a given, but it helps to keep your windows closed as much as possible. You could also wash your face after you get home from being out and about. And for even more assurance, you could change your clothes in a separate room when you come back inside, and designate “indoor clothes” versus “outdoor clothes,” Little said.
Air conditioners can also help ward off pesky pollen.
“They tend to dehumidify the air a little bit,” Little said. “Sometimes heavy humidity can be more of a problem for people that have severe allergies, and also people that have associated lung diseases like asthma or , where humid, heavy air can add further discomfort.”
A/C helps not only dehumidify the air but also filter it, Little said however you’ll want to change or at least regularly clean those components.
When Will Pollen Season End In The Charlotte Area
It is worth noting that pollen season start and end dates can fluctuate depending on where you live. The climate and weather conditions play a major role in pollen levels and when plants sprout and grow.In Charlotte specifically, youll see the differences from the pollen allergy season we outlined in the above section, with general seasons including:
- Ragweed, which sprouts up in August and lasts until the first frost. That may be in November or even later, since Charlotte is typically warm. The most intense of the ragweed season is in September.
- Grass pollen season, which starts in the middle of spring, so sometime in April or May. It typically ends in September. The highest counts of grass allergies are in May through August, so the summertime.
- Tree allergy season, which if typically from March until June. April is typically when symptoms may ramp up most.
In the next section, well go into more detail on each type of pollen, the seasons, and considerations allergy sufferers should keep in mind.
When Does Allergy Season Start
Technically, it’s always allergy season the exact timing of your allergy symptoms just depends on what you’re allergic to.
On the one hand, there are seasonal allergies which, as you can tell by the name, happen during specific times of the year.
From late winter to late spring , tree pollentypically from ash, birch, oak, and olive treestends to be the most common allergen, explains Dr. Bassett. Grass pollen can also cause seasonal allergies from early to mid-spring through most of the summer, he adds.
Summer allergies are a thing too, BTW. Weed allergens like English plantain and sagebrush usually start to flare up in July and typically last through August, Katie Marks-Cogan, M.D., co-founder and chief allergist for Ready, Set, Food!, previously told Shape.
If you think that means fall and winter are off the hook, think again. Starting in August and continuing through November, ragweed allergens take the autumn season by storm, explains Dr. Bassett.
As for winter allergies, they’re most commonly caused by indoor allergens like dust mites, pet/animal dander, cockroach allergens, and mold spores, explained Dr. Marks-Cogan. These allergens are also considered perennial, or year-round allergies, since they’re technically present all the time you just tend to experience them more in the winter because that’s when you’re spending a lot of time inside, said Dr. Marks-Cogan.
When To Expect Spring Allergies To End
So when do spring allergies go away? Unfortunately, the same qualities that make allergy season start earlier also makes them stay longer. April tends to be the worst month for most spring allergy-sufferers, but spring allergies typically last until early summer. Its pretty easy to see why: Thats when most of the flowers and trees are blooming.
Tree pollen is the most common culprit for spring allergies. Grass and weeds also cause issues later in the spring allergy season. Most people see their allergy symptoms start to disappear by early June, but it can change depending on where you live in the country. The best idea is to be prepared and use our tips to fight them any time of year.
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When Does Pollen Season End In Charlotte Nc
Many people love spring because it means longer days, warmer weather, and the end of a dreary winter. Except whenever you go outdoors, you start sneezing like crazy. Not only that, but your eyes get red and watery, your nose is runny, and you feel like you can barely breathe.
For many people, this is the reality of springtime. All those blooming plants and flowers mean pollen counts are especially high. If youre in the Charlotte, North Carolina area, it may feel like pollen season will never end. After all, its almost Memorial Day, the unofficial start of summer, yet you cant shake your sneezing and congestion. What gives? Allow us to explain everything you need to know about pollen season.
Is Climate Change Making Pollen Worse
Unfortunately, also yes.
The Michigan researchers project that pollen emission will increase 16 to 40 percent in the continental United States by the end of this century. Thats because warmer temperatures will shift the start of spring emissions 1040 days earlier and summer/fall weeds and grasses 515 days later and lengthen the season duration.
Moreover, increased carbon dioxide in the air increases both male flowers and their pollen.
Plants feed off carbon dioxide, Davis said.
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Another Use For That Stash Of Masks
Speaking of filtration, Little said some of his allergy patients reported the pandemic brought them an added springtime benefit: protection with a mask.
“It turns out that people last year, when masks were very pervasive, found that their allergies were a little bit less even if they weren’t high-grade, industrial and KN95 masks,” Little said. “Even people with surgical masks sometimes felt as though there was a little bit of filtering.”
While he said it’s true a mask may offer at least some extra shielding against airborne pollen, Little said he doesn’t recommend masking outdoors solely for allergies.
How To Avoid Pollen Until The Season Is Over
Whether its ragweed, grass, or tree pollens that trigger your symptoms, how do you safeguard yourself from allergy attacks this spring and summer? There are several ways you can go about it.
The first way is to keep track of the pollen count. CAAC has the only official pollen counter for our area. Our trained staff daily identifies specific pollens in the air and it is posted on our website. Knowing your specific allergy triggers and comparing them to the daily pollen count can help you plan your day.
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Allergy Season : Why Your Symptoms Are Worse Than Ever
Many people with seasonal allergies are struggling right now, trapped in a vicious cycle of coughing, sneezing, wheezing and itching.
If this sounds like you, you might be wondering whats going on. Is this allergy season particularly brutal, or do your symptoms just seem worse because you were inside and not exposed to many allergens in spring 2020? Or is it all in your head?
According to allergists, its not just you. Its true your allergies may feel worse this year. Heres the deal and how to find some relief:
Will Eating Local Honey Help Your Allergies
Sluck all the honey sticks you want between sneezes. The thinking is that pollen on the surface of the bee somehow makes it into honey and that ingesting that honey will desensitize you, Cypcar said. But surface pollen on a honeybee is floral, and that kind of pollen doesn’t cause allergies. Myth busted!
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Pollen Is Here How Yellow Is This Year
RICHMOND, Va. As we all know, Spring is the season of pollen which means our allergy sufferers have to start checking in to make sure medication is up-to-date and possibly limiting time outdoors.
We are no strangers to pollen here in Central Va. from the sniffles, to all-yellow cars for weeks on end.
What type of pollen do we typically deal with and when can we expect the biggest impacts across the area?
The period from late-February to June happens to be the worst time period for our allergy sufferers. The primetime is normally from March to early-May. The type of pollen we typically deal with happens to be tree pollen such as Oak, Maple, Ash and Birch.
Grass pollen and ragweed happens to be more prevalent during the later summer months. During Spring, mold allergies may also be an area of concern. The only relief we can look forward to may be rainy days that may wash some of the pollen away and cause pollen counts to be lower.
The dry Spring wind helps pollen to spread across the area and the only mitigation to that would be rain. The best rain to wash out pollen is a light or consistent rain and not violent thunderstorms. Thunderstorms with strong winds and big rain drops actually help to spread more pollen rather than wash some away.
As far as suggestions for avoiding pollen, the only one is to limit time outdoors during these month.
Quick Tips For Allergy Prevention
- Keep your windows closed as much as possible.
- Wash your face after you get home from being out and about.
- For even more protection, change your clothes in a separate room when you come back inside.
- Consider an air conditioner for dehumidifying indoor air .
Tips sourced from Boston Medical Center allergy specialist Dr. Frederic Little.
“Allergy sufferers who are allergic to trees will sometimes be confused, because our trees are still bare here in the New England area there may be some snow on the ground even and they’re starting to have allergy symptoms,” Little said, adding those symptoms are indeed kicking in for some in our area.
Things will unfortunately only get worse from here as we approach peak tree pollen between the end of April and late May. With that in mind, we asked Little for tips to cope with the season:
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Common Symptoms Of Allergies Include:
- Rhinitis itchy, runny, or blocked nose
- Incessant sneezing
- Swelling of lips, eyes, hands, or face
- Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
Anti-allergic medication can treat most of these symptoms. Still, you must seek professional assistance early on to determine the cause of your allergies and the best treatment options available.
Rarely, an allergy can cause anaphylaxis, a body-wide severe allergic reaction that can be fatal. The onset of anaphylaxis is within minutes of exposure to an allergen, and if the correct medical aid is not administered swiftly, chances of survival can be bleak.
You Might Not Like These Predictions About West Virginias Upcoming Peak Allergy Season
Good grief. Is it already allergy season again?! The answer is: almost! And this year is gearing up to be one of the worst . West Virginia is in the spotlight for the brutal upcoming allergy season we can expect this spring. You should probably enjoy the next several weeks because, once it hits, things will go completely haywire until the yellow scourge disappears from the landscape.
You can start with rinsing your car on a regular basis. Removing your shoes and leaving them outside your door will keep some of the nastiness from getting into your home. And on that note, sadly, keeping your windows and doors closed throughout the allergy season is a must if you expect to escape the sniffles, sneezes and itchy eyes this year. One more suggestion: wash or wipe down your pets when they come in, unless of course, yours arent allowed on any furniture!
For more weather woes in The Mountain State, keep reading here for a look back at a blizzard that paralyzed the state more than four decades ago. Unreal!
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Allergies In A Warming World
Big picture, we know that climate change will bring widespread environmental change to the Northeast, from coastal flooding to tick activity. Allergy season is unfortunately another item on that list.
Recent studies build the case that rising temperatures will cause tree pollen seasons that start earlier and last longer. And not only that, they will be more intense, Little said.
“The total pollen counts, in terms of the density of pollen that is released over the course of the season, will go up,” he said. “Higher carbon-dioxide concentrations lead to more plant growth, and more plant growth means more vigorous plants and what plants like to do is to reproduce by releasing pollen and expanding.”
Efforts to limit greenhouse gas emissions will be crucial for the future of New England’s allergy seasons, Little said.
For now, it may be as good a time as any to stock up on tissues and eye drops.
Am I Old Or Is Pollen Season Getting Worse
We cant speak to the former, but for the latter: Yes. A study in 2021 found that the overall pollen season was already about 20 days longer in North America than it was in 1990 and pollen concentrations were up about 21 percent, two University of Michigan researchers wrote in The Conversation, sharing findings they in March.
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