Your calendar may be saying otherwise but you are safe ignoring it. The allergy season is slowly setting in despite the official start date being over a month away.
Considering the mild and wet winter has permitted the unseasonably high temperatures to set in most parts of the US, several areas are reporting a high count of pollen some few weeks earlier than expected, reports ABCNews.
Areas with high pollen count
As expected, the South is on the frontline when it comes to pollen count because trees are coming back to life after months of dormancy courtesy of the winter weather.
In the week starting 19th Feb, the pollen levels in Atlanta were at 1,289 as reported by the Atlanta Allergy and Asthma Center. In 2016, nothing of this sort was recorded until mid-March as shown by the center’s data.
In addition, a daily AccuWeather map indicates that some sections of Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, North Carolina, Georgia and Louisiana recorded higher levels of tree pollen.
Winter Weather and Spring Allergy
According to Dr. Yasmin Bhasin, an allergist at Allergy and Asthma Care in Middletown, New York, the wet winter season across the country can be a precursor to a much worse allergy season.
The levels of allergy are determined by how much rain and snow was received, explains Miss Bhasin. It is dependent on how effectively the trees will grow and flourish so as to pollinate in spring. If the trees are healthier, expect more pollen to be produced which translates to high levels of allergy.
Typically, we expect mid-March to be the on-set season for allergy but that can change according to the amount of allergens produced and the previous winter.
The most conspicuous allergen in spring is tree pollen. Each region has unique tree pollen. But the primary ones are from birch, oak, elm and maple trees which cause a lot of misery to the allergic individuals.
Seasonal Flu Reaches Epidemic Levels in US
But even as allergy sets in, the CDC has reported that the seasonal flu is equally taking an effect.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 8 deaths have so far resulted from seasonal influenza and about 10 states have thousands of people depicting flu-related symptoms.
The CDC reports that for every 100,000 people, 15.4 are hospitalized due to flu. There are certain times of the year when the flu reaches epidemic levels.
Some of the symptoms associated with flu include fever, headache, cough, and joint pain. Typically, this season ends in March when the allergy season sets in.
The total number of affected persons per annum varies with the CDC stating that generally “millions of people are sickened, hundreds of thousands are hospitalized and thousands or tens of thousands of people die from flu every year.”