Early tree pollen leads to a spike in allergies

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - A warm spring kick-off has fooled some trees into releasing their pollen much sooner than normal.

The early-blooming oak tree is usually the first trigger for most allergies in the Heartland, but the pecan, walnut, and hickory trees are all pollinating much too soon.

Dr. Snodgrass has been practicing immunology nearly 20 years, but this season is a little different.

"This will be, by far, the busiest first quarter I've ever had. We've had these incredibly warm temperatures that have resulted in this massive release of pollen."

He saw more patients in February than he did in last May, which is normally his busiest month.

"Tree pollination runs from about mid-March to the first of May. and grasses usually start the last week of April and run until mid-June."

The most common complaint is watery, scratchy eyes.

"I write more eye drops in the six weeks of tree pollination than I do the rest of the year."

Snodgrass believes most tree pollination has peaked and should subside in the next couple weeks.

We're not quite out of the woods yet, however.

"it wouldn't surprise me to see grass pollen levels at a significant level within the next couple weeks."

Dr. Snodgrass knows it's nearly impossible to avoid pollen.

"You stay inside when you can, don't drive with the car windows down. You don't sleep with the windows open."

There are many over-the-counter medicines designed to fight symptoms, but if conditions worsen, contact your physician.

"The medicines treat the symptoms. the allergy shots treat the cause."

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