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Pollen bomb! Doctors are seeing ‘unusually’ high numbers of patients with severe allergies before spring

As spring's official start is still a week away — Tuesday, March 19 — many Americans have reported an increase in allergy-related symptoms earlier than usual.
As spring's official start is still a week away -- Tuesday, March 19 -- many Americans have reported an increase in allergy-related symptoms earlier than usual.

Flowers are far from blooming, but allergies are blossoming in the worst way.

As spring’s official start is still a week away — Tuesday, March 19 — many Americans have reported an increase in allergy-related symptoms earlier than usual.

Allergy season typically begins around April when high levels of pollen are disbursed throughout the air, causing allergy-prone people to experience frequent sneezing, watery eyes, runny nose and itchy throat.

Experts believe early-onset allergies occur because pollen levels have increased significantly in recent years due to mild winters.

A map graph conducted by Pollen.com on Mar. 12 revealed southern states such as Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida have endured “pollen bombs” at high levels of 9.7 to 12 pollen count.

As spring’s official start is still a week away — Tuesday, March 19 — many Americans have reported an increase in allergy-related symptoms earlier than usual. NY Post illustration
As spring’s official start is still a week away — Tuesday, March 19 — many Americans have reported an increase in allergy-related symptoms earlier than usual. NY Post illustration
Allergy suffers typically prepare for allergy season around April, but this year it arrived early. Prostock-studio – stock.adobe.com
Allergy suffers typically prepare for allergy season around April, but this year it arrived early. Prostock-studio – stock.adobe.com

Machines scattered around the country and powered by IGQVIA, a North Carolina-based IT health company, collected data on how much pollen a person will likely be exposed to over three days.

Data, measured between a 0 to 12 pollen count, found that 22 percent of the country is in “medium” status — indicating a 7.3 to 9.6 pollen count this week.

East Coast and Midwest residents have also noticed heightened levels of allergy symptoms. New Yorkers are in the medium zone for pollen counts as of this week.

A map graph conducted by Pollen.com on March 12 revealed southern states including Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida have endured “pollen bombs” at high levels of 9.7 to 12 pollen count. Pollen.com
A map graph conducted by Pollen.com on March 12 revealed southern states including Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida have endured “pollen bombs” at high levels of 9.7 to 12 pollen count. Pollen.com

Ros Runner, a Virginia meteorologist, noted that warmer temperatures on the East Coast have expedited residents’ allergies sooner in a recent report.

“Usually, I’ll have some allergies, and it usually doesn’t affect me until mid-April,” a resident in Chesterfield, Virginia, told Richmond station WWBT. “But it started affecting me last week.”

The CDC revealed that nearly one in three U.S. adults and more than one in four U.S. children have a seasonal allergy, eczema or food allergy in 2021.

“Allergies occur when your immune system reacts to a foreign substance — such as pollen, bee venom or pet dander — or a food that doesn’t cause a reaction in most people,” according to Mayo Clinic. 

“For patients, it’s kind of a surprise in that they aren’t maybe expecting it this early. They might not be prepared with their medications or with avoidance measures, so they start to feel unwell,” Dr. Tiffany Owens, an allergist at the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center, told Columbus station WCMH NBC 4.

Data found that 22 percent of the country is in “medium” status, indicating a 7.3 to 9.6 pollen count this week. Pollen.com
Data found that 22 percent of the country is in “medium” status, indicating a 7.3 to 9.6 pollen count this week. Pollen.com

A 2023 analysis published by nonprofit organization Climate Central explained that allergy season has increased by 15 days on average across 200 cities between 1970 and 2021.

“Earlier spring and longer periods of freeze-free days mean that plants have more time to flower and release allergy-inducing pollen,” Climate Central added.

Scientists blame higher levels of carbon dioxide as behind the major pollen release, reported PBS. 

Allergies occur when your immune system reacts to a foreign substance such as pollen, bee venom or pet dander. ZUMAPRESS.com
Allergies occur when your immune system reacts to a foreign substance such as pollen, bee venom or pet dander. ZUMAPRESS.com

Climate Central’s map explains “how carbon dioxide emissions from human activity is affecting pollen production,” PBS noted.

While allergy sufferers scorn the unusually high levels of pollen, Dr. Andy Nish, an allergist at Northeast Georgia Physicians Group, shared tips with NewsMax regarding how to navigate sneezing season.

Among his points: people should keep windows in their cars and homes closed, go out late in the afternoon to avoid high pollen levels, use allergy medicines and wear a mask.