The buds on the trees and green grass sprouting on the ground are a welcome sight after a long and harsh winter. But for allergy sufferers this means months of impending misery: stuffed and inflamed sinuses, scratchy throats, itchy and watery eyes and a lot of sneezing.
Unfortunately, experts say people with seasonal allergies are in for an especially rough ride this spring and summer. The long winter’s excessive snowfall and precipitation followed by warmer temperatures means more moisture in the air. All of this raises mold and pollen counts to epic proportions.
“There is a pollen burst going on right now,” Dr. Clifford Bassett, the medical director at Allergy and Asthma Care of New York, told CBS News. “They’re primed and they’re ready to go and they’re already releasing their pollens earlier.”
He said urban dwellers especially must brace themselves for a season of sniffles. “Air pollution hangs on to pollen. It super-charges the pollen,” Bassett explained to “CBS This Morning” last month.
High pollen count in cities is driven by air pollution, warmer temperatures and also changes in trends of plant growth. According to Bassett, there currently are more male plants than female plants in urban areas; male plants are responsible for the pollen that gets into the air.
Last month, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America released their 12th annual “Spring Allergy Capitals” for the 45 million sneezy Americans. The report ranks the 100 cities in the U.S. with the worst allergies. This year, Louisville, Ky., climbed to the first spot from last year’s fifth. The full rankings of 100 cities can be accessed on the AAFA’s website.