Local doctor expects allergy season to hit hard, early due to mild winter

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Allergist Dr. Asif Khan expects pollen levels to rise this week

(WKBN) – It’s the time of year allergy sufferers always dread, when temperatures start to warm up, there’s more rain than snow and trees begin to bud.

But how is this year’s mild winter affecting those budding trees?

A local allergist discussed how bad he expects this year’s allergy season to be.

People with allergies know the change of the season means runny noses and itchy eyes, sometimes both.

“So a little bit of everything, especially I notice my eyes will really dry out,” said Alex Ankerman, someone who’s been suffering from allergies for years.

And it can affect daily life.

“If I’m gonna be outside a lot, I try to if I can find a day when it’s gonna rain because then it pushes all that pollen down,” Ankerman said.

Peek allergy season is around the third week of March into April. But this year, tree and allergy experts say to expect those symptoms even earlier.

“They’re breaking dormancy a little earlier than what we might like,” said Lynn Zocolo, a Mill Creek MetroParks educator.

“This year I think we’re gonna have a very intense season,” said Dr. Asif Khan, an allergy doctor.

Trees and shrubs rely on temperature and sunlight to know when to bloom. When it’s warmer earlier in the season, they get confused and start budding early.

“If the weather stays consistent I think we are gonna see some early pollen,” Zocolo said.

So now is the time to start preparing. Dr. Khan expects pollen levels to rise as early as Wednesday.

“This is probably a good time to start them now. I would recommend taking something like an antihistamine,” Dr. Khan said.

While you may be wishing winter away, those cold temperatures could be what saves allergy sufferers.

“Where we have 70% and then the next day we drop way down into the 20s, we are gonna see some damage,” Zocolo said.

“Once a cold spell hits and things start dying down, you’re great,” Dr. Khan said.

Even if you’ve never had allergies before, doctors say you can develop them the older you get. But, you can also outgrow them, a lot of it depends on your environment. You just need to make sure you’re not mistaking allergies for a long, drawn-out cold.

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