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Menopausal Mother Nature

News about Climate Change and our Planet


Pollen season arrives with a sneeze

Suffer from seasonal allergies? Depending on where you live, you may already be sneezing, sniffling and rubbing your itchy eyes.

And you may be in for a whopper of a spring — especially since spring has been arriving earlier in several regions.

The first pollen culprit each year is typically trees. If rainfall was good the year before, resulting in solid tree growth, that typically means healthy trees. Combine that with relatively warm forecasts with no more freezing temperatures on the horizon and it’s a perfect storm of pollen-filled trees.

Right now, that means the spring pollen allergy season has already kicked in for most of the U.S, as you can see on this map at

The Southeast and Southern Plains got off to an early start with tree pollen in early March, according to AccuWeather, with the expectation that grass pollen will start climbing in those areas in late April. The same story is expected to unfold in the central Plains and into the Northeast with pollen season getting off to a bit of a later start in the Northeast and Midwest.

“The start of pollen season may be delayed a week or two in both regions, but the pollen looks to come out quite fast and strong from April into May,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Alan Reppert said.

To check the pollen counts so far in your area, visit the National Allergy Bureau reports.

Pollen starting earlier and earlier

juniper tree Juniper trees are often some of the first to spread their pollen each year. (Photo: Nataliia Politova/Shutterstock)

The spring allergy season has been starting earlier for years now, Dr. Clifford Bassett told in 2016.

“In general over the last 10 years or more, we’ve seen an earlier start to the spring allergy season by about two weeks,” Bassett said. “Each year is different. You’re mostly seeing a longer season spring through fall because of warmer temperatures.”

Bassett also suggested that climate change plays a part.

“[Climate change] is causing more carbon dioxide in our environment, which in turn tells a lot of plants to produce more pollen, and the pollen itself is more supercharged and more powerful.”

Warmer temperatures mean fewer freezing days which means more pollen. Research by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) found that between 1995 and 2011, warmer temperatures meant anywhere from 11 to 27 days added to the pollen season. Those extra days mean more pollen, more allergens and more allergy symptoms.

In addition, warmer temperatures will cause parts of the country to become worse for allergies as certain plants like ragweed migrate to new places.

“Warmer temperatures allow the trees to pollinate earlier and for longer times,” Angel Waldron, the director of communications for AAFA, tells CNN. “We didn’t used to see our cars covered in pollen before March, but we do now, and we hear from people all the time who are dealing with allergies for a lot longer than they used to when they were little. That’s definitely connected to climate change.”

Editor’s note: This file was originally published in March 2016 and has been updated with new information.

Mary Jo DiLonardo writes about everything from health to parenting — and anything that helps explain why her dog does what he does.

Pollen season arrives with a sneeze

It all depends on where you live whether spring allergy season could be earlier and worse this year.


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