“Everyone always has a reason to think the current year is the worst year ever for allergies,” said Dr. David Rosenstreich, director of the allergy and immunology division at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City. But this year those complaints really do have some merit, he added.
“It’s been a very unusual allergy season. I don’t know if it’s because of the very wet winter or that it’s been cold longer, but the pollen counts are much higher. This week, it’s been running about 6,000 grains a day, instead of the usual 1,500,” Rosenstreich said of his local area.
Pollen counts vary from area to area. For example, normal pollen counts in the northeastern United States are generally much higher than in the Midwest or Southwest in the spring, because the Northeast has far more trees. But this year, there’s little relief anywhere for allergy sufferers. Dr. Joseph Leija, an allergist at Loyola University Health System’s Gottlieb Memorial Hospital in Melrose Park, Ill., said 2011 is the worst year he’s ever seen for high pollen counts.
Climate change is also affecting allergy seasons. “Climate change is making pollen seasons start earlier and end later. And the increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere makes ragweed stronger in the fall,” said Rosenstreich.
Rosenstreich said you might want to consider allergy shots so that next (allergy season) you aren’t one of those saying, “This year’s allergies are the worst ever.”
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