Pollen Causing Allergy Problems

By Phil Gregory, WBGO News
May 17, 2013

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This is a tough time of the year for people with seasonal allergies. All the moisture from Superstorm Sandy has driven up pollen counts.

Yellow pollen from trees is now coating many cars and driveways in New Jersey.

Dr. Leonard Bielory is an allergy investigator at the Rutgers Center for Environmental Prediction.  He says this is an unusually severe allergy season.

 “Tree pollen actually has peaked and it’s gone probably the highest since I’ve been doing pollen counting. This time of year we normally see pollen counts up to four, five, six thousand pollen grains per cubic meter. We’ve seen double that.”

Bielory says the tree pollen will be tapering off in the next week or two, but pollen from grasses and weeds will be troublesome for a while.

“They started early and it’s going to end later. Normally it ends maybe by the first week in June. Our prediction now, and it’s being modeled, it’ll end by the third week in June.”

Bielory says more people are complaining of allergy problems later in life.

 “Usually with allergies as you get older it fades. It goes in what we call senescence. The immune system ages and it’s not a brisk response. We’re seeing some people starting to get very brisk response in their 30s, 40s, and 50s that they’ve never had before.”

Just why that’s happening, Bielory says, is not clear.


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