Allergy season starts early due to unseasonably warm temperatures

Updated: Feb. 22, 2017 at 1:16 PM EST
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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - If you are starting to feel your ears itch, eyes water or nose run, you are not alone. Allergy season has begun, and it's due to unseasonably warm temperatures.

So far this month, there have been only a handful of days with highs below normal. Richmond's official high has soared past 70 six times so far, with warmer conditions expected once again this week.

"This month is probably going to go down as the warmest February we have on record," said NBC12 Meteorologist Megan Wise. "It's crazy warm and we are already starting to see everything blooming. Trees, flowers are blooming so the allergy season is going to start early. We are already showing the allergy report on TV and it's winter, and its February and that hasn't happened in years."

The allergy report on shows Tuesday and Wednesday with "medium" pollen levels with the top allergens being juniper, elm, and alder. Thursday's forecast is medium to high pollen levels.

"We'll start to see allergy symptoms come in for a pulmonary practice that tends to mean a chronic cough and asthma symptoms," said Dr. Jamie Hey, a pulmonary critical care physician with Pulmonary Associates of Richmond at Johnston-Willis Hospital. "Some people may think they may not start until what they really consider spring. Well, if it's 80 degrees in February, the trees think it's spring so you may see an increase in pollen and an increase in symptoms."

The symptoms can be prevented by taking allergy and asthma medications early.

"Then there is avoidance so keeping the windows closed, not going out in the morning when the pollen counts are really high, keeping an eye on the weather," said Hey.

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