Worst Allergy Season Ever!

26718462544101d72d52_Hydrangeas.jpg
26718462544101d72d52_Hydrangeas.jpg

Spring might have gotten off to a slow start this year, but that hasn't dampened the effects of pollen. In fact, Dr. Clifford Bassett, founder and medical director at Allergy and Asthma Care of New York told weather.com he predicted "a very robust pollen explosion" this spring -- and he wasn't wrong. 

According to the doctor, there are a number of reasons for the spring sniffles. “One is the rising long term increase in carbon dioxide and its effect on increased production of pollen,” he said. 

“There’s a couple factors,” Dr. Clifford Bassett, founder and medical director at Allergy and Asthma Care of New York, told weather.com. “One is the rising long term increase in carbon dioxide and its effect on increased production of pollen,” another is what he calls “the priming effect," and the last comes down to a battle of the sexes: pollen-producing male trees are dominating greenspace in many cities.

Sign Up for E-News

A study concluded that climate warming and the resultant weather effects are "an important factor" in causing the pollen season to be more intense, and this year Dr. Bassett expects the trend to continue. Climate warming and increased carbon dioxide is having a positive effect on pollen production (and thus a negative effect on those suffering from pollen allergens).

“With this carbon dioxide prevalence, we think certain pollens will be more prevalent and more potent, which is a very major factor,” Dr. Bassett said.

Rising temperatures are also to blame. Dr. Bassett explains that hotter summer seasons can result in a stronger pollen season the following spring. “The summer temperature may have an impact on the following spring season as far as grass and tree pollen, which are the representative and most important pollen in the spring.”

To add insult to injury, the wet winter seasons that feature heavy precipitation (like this winter’s record-breaking snow totals) are also having an impact on the pollen season.

“In some studies, a very heavy precipitation during the fall and winter may be enough to enhance the pollen production, particularly in grass pollen,” Dr. Bassett said. “So we may see more grass pollens flowering early and more robustly from a very heavy precipitation in fall and winter, which we’ve seen in many areas. When plants are under stress, they may make more flowers and less leaves and therefore they’ll be more pollen.”

Pollencast: Get the Forecast Near You

Are you reaching for the tissues yet? There is yet another factor contributing to scary pollen forecasts this spring: the priming effect.

As Dr. Bassett describes, the priming effect is when temperatures make big leaps in small periods of time. For instance, when one day the weather is around 30 degrees Fahrenheit and the next the mercury rises to 70 degrees Fahrenheit, the doctor says, “that’s when people really start to suffer.”

The constantly changing and highly varied temperatures cause your body to “[rev] up the immune system and further on down the road, you’re going to be even more hyper-sensitive or hyperactive to the new pollen.” Basically, your body doesn’t take kindly to all of the stop-and-go cues from the weather, which causes increased sensitivity to allergens once they’re released.

Another factor inevitably resulting in more pollen has to do with the types of trees in your environment. When it comes to planning parks and greenspaces, many cities opt for male trees over female trees since they create less mess -- female trees produce seeds that often fall to the ground, making cleaning the sidewalks and grassy areas a pain. Whereas male trees don't, instead they produce pollen. Tom Ogren, who developed OPALS (Ogren Plants Allergy Scale), told NPR that it's better to plant both male and female plants since that will help decrease the amount of pollen in the air.

 The Guest Column is our readers' opportunity to write about a given issue or topic in an in-depth and educational manner.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Berkeley Heights

Union County College’s Drama Club to Present “12 Angry Jurors”

April 25, 2018

CRANFORD – Union County College’s Drama Club will be performing for their spring show the play, “12 Angry Jurors,” as adapted by Sherman L. Sergel and based on the Emmy award-winning television movie by Reginald Rose. The play is based on the same plot as “12 Twelve Angry Men,” but by being named “12 Angry Jurors” both men and women appear in the ...

Paint by the Pond Event to be Held at Warinanco Park

ROSELLE/ELIZABETH, NJ - Children ages 4 to 12 years old are invited by the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders to participate in the third annual Paint by the Pond. A project that teaches families about the importance of recycling while encouraging children to paint on cardboard, creating art from materials usually thrown away.

There will also be miniature houses made with the cardboard ...

The Mayor Addresses a Question on Tax Credits for Businesses

April 25, 2018

Some citizens have suggested that Berkeley Heights and any other New Jersey municipality can and should grant “tax breaks” or “tax credits” in the hopes of enticing businesses downtown. However, the law is clear and it does NOT allow municipalities to give “tax credits” to businesses.

Article VIII of the New Jersey State Constitution, Section 1 states, ...

Politics IS Government in Union County

After Bruce Patrson of Garwood was stopped from speaking at the Union County freeholder meeting of March 22 regarding the politics behind refusing to give the party line to a sitting freeholder I thought this brazen suppression of free speech could not go unanswered. A the the April 19 meeting I answered with these comments.

After ten years of following government in Union County I conclude ...

New Providence Borough Council to Cultivate Relationships with County Officials

April 12, 2018

NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – Councilman Robert Robinson touted the importance of personal relationships with Union County representatives at the Monday, April 9 council meeting.

Union County Freeholders Angel Estrada and Bette Jane Kowalski attended the Street Smart campaign kick-off event prior to the meeting providing the council members with the opportunity to chat face-to-face with the two ...

Student Led #Rally4 Action to Protest Gun Violence Held Friday in Springfield

April 21, 2018

SPRINGFIELD, NJ - Fueled partially by their disappointment that students were not allowed to leave school for the nationwide student protest last month, student leaders planned a rally Friday on the nineteenth anniversary of the Columbine massacre in Colorado. At 4:30 p.m., students, parents, families, community members met at Chisholm Community Center to register voters, make ...

Student Led #Rally4 Action to Protest Gun Violence Held Friday in Springfield

April 21, 2018

SPRINGFIELD, NJ - Fueled partially by their disappointment that students were not allowed to leave school for the nationwide student protest last month, student leaders planned a rally Friday on the nineteenth anniversary of the Columbine massacre in Colorado. At 4:30 p.m., students, parents, families, community members met at Chisholm Community Center to register voters, make ...