Allergy season starts early

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Brace yourself for what could be one of the worst allergy seasons in years and it's starting already. Spring is still a week away but you wouldn't know it from blooms on trees and the sniffles you'll hear almost everywhere you go. We can thank Mother Nature for the beauty and the suffering.

It sounds frustrating just to list the symptoms.

"Nasal congestion, sneezing, runny nose, post nasal drainage, throat clearing, itchy, watery eyes," allergist Dr. Patrick Powers described.

It's not the season, but already Dr. Powers at Allergy Partners of Richmond is as busy as a bee in spring time. Patients are packing the office earlier than usual.

"I think this year will be a good year for allergy sufferers and not in a good way," he said.

He knows that from the practice's crystal ball for pollen. Becky Collie uses it to count the nasty particles every day. The sampler is a good thermometer for how allergy sufferers will be affected. In an unusual twist, she registered counts in early February this year.

"You know typically April we're seeing the yellow everywhere on cars, sidewalks, puddles that's actually coming out a bit early," Collie said.

But according to these experts with conditions here in the Mid-Atlantic States, that's no surprise.

"The warmth that we've had this year, all the rainfall that we've had early this year has made it a perfect condition to grow pollen," Dr. Powers explained.

Only Mother Nature knows whether an early start will mean an early end.

"Because of the conditions we may have a lengthy pollen season and we may have a more severe pollen season," Powers said. "So it just depends on what kind of weather we get the next couple months."

At this point, the best we can hope for is medicine and some rain, which typically washes the pollen out of the air.

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