SPRINGFIELD, NJ: - Pollen counts, primarily from trees and some mold spores, are being reported at one of their earliest timeframes in the New York/New Jersey metropolitan area.

Leonard Bielory, M.D., an allergy specialist with the Rutgers Center of Environmental Prediction at the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, says these earlier tree pollen levels will start to trigger a reaction for some individuals who are allergic.

“With the projected weather forecast allergy sufferers will really have an earlier and longer problem this year,” he says.

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Not only are we “beginning to see pollen from juniper, there are other species of trees such as elm and maple, which are very unusual at this early stage of the season,” adds, Bielory. “Then again, so is the high temperatures we’ve been having,” he adds.

Bielory and colleagues at the Rutgers Center for Environmental Prediction have been studying the effects of climate change in New Jersey and throughout the U.S. and the potential impact on allergies.

Also the director of the University Asthma and Allergy Associates in Springfield and Wall Township, New Jersey, Bielory offers the following tips for lessening the impact of seasonal allergies.

  • Minimize outdoor activity when pollen counts are high. Peak pollen times are usually between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  • Shut windows in your house on days when pollen counts are high. Avoid using window fans that may draw pollen inside.
  • Dry laundry indoors. Sheets hanging on an outside line are an easy target for blowing pollen.
  • When mowing lawn or gardening, wear a filter mask.

Bielory is a certified member of the National Allergy Bureau (NAB) of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology's (AAAAI) Aeroallergen Network that is responsible for reporting current pollen levels to the public. His responsibilities include providing up-to-date pollen information online at NYNJPollen.com and to the NAB website at aaaai.org/nab.

The Aeroallergen Network is comprised of pollen counting stations staffed primarily by AAAAI physician volunteers who donate their time and expertise. The NAB is composed of 83 counting stations in the U.S. and three counting stations in Canada. Pollen data gathered through the network is shared with the public and is also used for research to aid in the diagnosis, treatment and management of allergic diseases.