Spring allergies

It's that time of year again.
Posted at 9:25 PM, Apr 04, 2020

Spring is a beautiful time of year. It can also be an insufferable time for allergy sufferers. As plants release pollen, those with hay fever are reaching for the tissues.

The main trigger for those with seasonal allergies in the spring is the pollen that is released by trees, grasses, and weeds. Not all trees release their pollen at the same time. Juniper, elm, and maple are some of the earliest to do so. Later in the season we'll see higher pollen levels from oak, hickory, and walnut trees. That's why people can experience symptoms at different times. While tree pollen can start to bother you as early as March, grass counts typically go up in May. Similar to trees, when you notice your symptoms flaring up depends on what type of grass you are allergic to. Weeds are can be a bother in the spring, summer, and fall.

The weather impacts daily pollen levels. An early warm spell will help plants to bloom earlier, therefore leading to an earlier start to allergy season. Pollen counts are typically higher on warm and windy days. Warmer temperatures will help the plants to release more pollen. On windy days the pollen is blown around. Rain will provide some temporary relief. The rain will weigh down the pollen and concentrations will be lower. Rain also promotes growth, so levels will be quick to recover. Allergy sufferers may want to avoid outdoor activities first thing in the morning, that's typically when counts are the highest.

The top allergens in the Bluegrass right now are oak, birch, and juniper. The pollen levels will respond to the slight dip in temperature Sunday and drop from the high category to medium. But levels are on the way up as temperatures warm early in the week. We can expect some more relief after some mid-week rain and much cooler temperatures that will follow.