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Allergies on the Rise: Warm Winter Could Mean Longer Pollen Season

Allergies could be a ‘significant problem’ as warm winter may mean longer pollen season

Allergies could be a ‘significant problem’ as warm winter may mean longer pollen season

Allergy season is here, and the warm winter has not been favorable. Experts suggest that the mild temperatures over the winter are causing a rough spring for allergy sufferers. The primary culprit is pollen, which poses a significant problem.

Spring allergies may start early due to climate change

According to Dr. Anitha Shrikhande, assistant professor of Allergy and Immunology at the University of Rochester Medicine, “Tree pollen season is shaping up to be a significant problem for our patients.” With the increase in tree pollen counts, patients are experiencing symptoms like red and itchy eyes, runny noses, and persistent sneezing fits. The tiny pollen particles easily find their way into noses and lungs, leading to discomfort.

Experts warn of a longer and more severe spring allergy season

The warm winter, as explained by experts, could lead to a longer and more severe spring allergy season. Changes in weather patterns impact pollen levels, and warmer temperatures promote a more robust growing season. Consequently, trees, grass, and other allergens start to release pollen earlier and in larger quantities, fueling seasonal allergies.

Has a rainy spring helped allergy season in Rochester?

Rochester has experienced a lot of rain in the past week, which can dampen the impact of pollen from trees. However, excessive rain can worsen grass pollen allergies, as it creates favorable conditions for mold. Dr. Anitha Shrikhande advises individuals to be aware of their specific allergies and take necessary precautions to minimize exposure. Rochester was previously ranked 20th in the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America’s top 20 allergy capitals in the United States. Although the city’s ranking has decreased since then, experts still anticipate a challenging allergy season.

What treatment is available for allergies?

“Treatment will vary based on each patient. There’s a wide range of options, including over-the-counter antihistamines, allergy shots, and a combination of treatments,” explains Dr. Emily Weis of UR Medicine. She suggests identifying individual triggers and avoiding them whenever possible. For instance, tree pollen is most prominent in the morning, so it is advisable to delay activities such as opening windows or exercising outdoors until later in the day.

Common allergy symptoms

Common symptoms of allergies, as cited by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, include a runny or stuffy nose, sneezing, itchy nose, eyes, ears, and mouth, as well as red and watery eyes and swelling around the eyes. Individuals experiencing allergic asthma can also suffer from shortness of breath, cough, chest tightness or pain, wheezing, waking at night due to asthma symptoms, and a drop in lung function.

How to fight allergies?

To alleviate allergy symptoms, UR Medicine provides the following tips:

  • Change clothes upon entering your home.
  • Take a shower after being outside.
  • Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from pollen.
  • Use saline nasal rinses to alleviate congestion.
  • Stay well hydrated.
  • Regularly vacuum your living space.
  • Use air filters to remove pollen and other allergens from the air.


This article provides general information and should not be considered medical advice. Allergy management should be discussed with a healthcare professional to determine the most appropriate treatment plan for individual needs.

Published on April 16, 2024

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