Warm winter, record rainfall fueling spring allergy season by increasing pollen count

PITTSBURGH — Warmer days and above-average rainfall are helping fuel the spring allergy season this year. Dr. Marritt L. Fajt from UPMC Allergy and Immunology in Pittsburgh explains why our allergy season is so extreme.

“The first problem, the rain in general can cause the pollen, especially strong rains like we’ve had on some of the days can cause the pollens to burst open and release more pollen, micro pollens, which then can become airborne much easier,” Dr. Fajt said. “It’s the warmer weather combined with the moisture can cause things to grow a lot more and the problem is when we didn’t have a very cold winter nothing really died so people that are tree and grass pollen suffers are having a lot of symptoms. The counts are very high and probably even higher than they would have been a few years ago.”

Looking at the climate date we are coming out of one of the warmest winters on record and now the wettest year so far to date.

“You can tell by how green it is, it causes the tree and grasses to grow more and it’s kind of a vicious cycle of producing more pollens,” Dr Fajt said.

Due to an increase in grass and tree pollens along with mold and mildew allergies, Dr. Fajt says patients are experiencing breakthrough symptoms.

“A lot of people are coming in because their allergies are not well controlled. Medicines that have worked in the past spring seasons aren’t doing it anymore,” she said.

There are things you can do to minimize pollen exposure, such as:

  • Closing your windows, if possible. Pollens are small and can come through screens and coat your furniture and carpeting. Driving with the windows down can also increase pollen exposure.
  • Change your clothes when you come indoors. If you are doing activities outdoors pollen can collect on your clothing.
  • Showering before bed

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