Tree allergy season delayed due to winter weather
Typically in April, Dr. Reid Olson at SSM Health has seen the signs of spring. As an Allergist, that means itchy eyes, constant coughs, and incessant sneezing.
"Usually by now, I've already got people suffering," he said.
The prolonged winter has extended winter illnesses.
"Instead I've got people still suffering with colds and viral-type illnesses" Olson explained,"there's still a few trickling people coming in with flu symptoms."
According to Olson, weather has the biggest influence on the severity of allergy season. As winter extends into spring, tree allergy season, which typically starts in March, is shortened. For those made miserable by tree allergies, this could be good news.
"This year, I hate to say it, it has just been perpetual winter. So we're just way behind the game this year."
The weather's impact on allergy season has less to do with local weather patterns, and is based primarily on Midwest weather trends.
"We'll have our local trees flower just as we normally would, but the real pollen danger comes from the dry, windy weather because that's how the pollen is primarily dispersed."
Though the trees will eventually bloom either way, the delay could mean those who suffer from tree allergies won't have to suffer for long.
"It is typically tree season, the spring, where we see the most miserable people. And it is because the trees produce billions of pollen grains, billions and billions," Olson said.
Olson said although the tree season typically starts in March and ends in May, grass pollen season will still come in June, mold spore season will follow, before ragweed season begins in August.
Allergists in the Madison area have recommended visiting AAAAI.org for local pollen counts. The data is gathered in Madison.