This week, New Yorkers emerged from their darkened studio apartments, blinking and stretching, to greet their first 70-degree day since October. But as the cotton dresses and sandals are resurrected from storage, so too are the eye drops and bottles of Allegra. “Although spring is off to a slow start, now we are starting to see catch up when it comes to a massive pollen surge, the ‘double whammy’ that combines tree and grass pollen, peaking over mid spring and beyond,” said allergist Dr. Clifford Bassett, who noted “this year’s season will be one of the toughest in years.

Why, exactly? Dr. Bassett points to a number of factors. First off, heavy winter precipitation means the soil and roots of allergenic plants are especially hydrated, priming them to release higher levels of pollen than after a dryer winter. But because temperatures have been so cold recently, plants haven’t begun to bloom yet.

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