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Entering a new phase of pollen problems

By Sunni Blevins - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - We have entered a new phase of pollen problems.  Tree pollen is still showing up in high levels, and now grass pollen is registering at a high rate too. 

The evidence is clear on most of our cars, and for some of us, it's even more evident in our runny noses, itchy eyes and scratchy throats.  Experts warn that allergy sufferers should be prepared for things to get worse before they get better, especially this year.

"The growing season has began and the trees and grasses are working at full strength," said NBC12 meteorologist Andrew Freiden.

After a wet and nourishing winter, the sites and sounds of spring are in full bloom.  Beautiful flowers, trees and lawns are causing problems though for those with pollen allergies: that's between 30 and 40 percent of the population.

Tree pollen has been at record highs and now grass pollen has shown up early.

"We normally don't see that until a month later than now, so seeing grass in early April is pretty unusual," said Dr. Michael Blumberg from VAPA.  "The recommendation is that you find out what you are allergic too, because often if you predict what you are going to have symptoms from, then you can pre-treat it."

Over the counter meds work for a lot of people, but with all the options on the market, you need to get what's right for you.  Consult a family doctor or allergist for more information.  And, prepare for the long haul.

"We are blessed in Virginia with a very long growing season, and that also means a very long allergy season," Freiden said.  "For some folks they get the end of the season, which is weed pollen, a lot of people are allergic to ragweed, and they get that typically in August and September when it gets a little hotter and dryer."

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