Doctors: Harsh winter means worse spring allergies
Flowers and trees are starting to bloom in certain parts of the country. A welcome sign of spring after a record-breaking winter.
But this wicked winter still has one punch left. Now doctors are saying that even when temperatures warm up, all the snow and ice we've experienced will lead to a more severe allergy season.
Dr. Stanley Fineman works in Atlanta at one of the busiest allergy clinics in the U.S. He says that all that precipitation - be it snow, ice or rain -- means there could be more pollen this spring.
"It's been very wet; With more wet weather, the trees take in more water; When the trees take in more water, they thrive; When they thrive, they release more pollen," explained Dr. Fineman.
The drastic temperature changes can also make allergy sufferers feel worse. Warm pollinating days followed by cold days and then warm again leads to stronger reactions to pollen the second time around.
According to Dr. Fineman, "The initial exposure to the pollen will trigger some symptoms and basically prime their allergic immune system to prepare for when it's re-exposed to that allergen, they get an even more violent reaction."
There's no good model that can accurately predict the pollen count, but if you go off patient symptoms, spring allergies have already hit the southeast.
One in five Americans is said to suffer from allergies. There are nearly 4 million work days lost each year because of pollen allergies.