Allergist warns of intense pollen counts over the next few weeks; polar vortex partly to blame

AKRON, Ohio - Jodi Huffman, of Medina, has suffered through spring allergies for 15 years, but this season feels like the worst.

"My eyes are watering like crazy. I seem to have more congestion. It's really come out the last three, four weeks," Huffman said.

You can blame it on seasonal variation, or possibly, a pollen vortex left behind by the winter's infamous polar vortex.

"I don't know if it's just with the cold weather, everything is coming out, but it seems to be really pretty horrible this year," Huffman added.

Dr. Rajeev Kishore, an allergist at Akron Children's Hospital, said more plants, flowers and trees are blooming late, and all at once, because of the extra frigid weather. As a result, plants have a shorter time to pollinate and reproduce.

"By nature of a living organism, you will see they accomplish that in a shorter time by producing more pollen and spreading it more evenly across the area," Kishore said.

Unfortunately for allergy sufferers, that could result in more sneezing, coughing and watery eyes.

"I think we should be prepared that it's going to be intense and take appropriate precautions and medications ahead of time," Kishore said.

While pollen counts are considered mild to moderate now, the levels can quickly change to high and severe.

Kishore expects a flood of calls to come into his office soon, as pollen counts spike over the next six to eight weeks. He suggests people with a history of spring allergies take their proven medications now.

He also recommends keeping windows closed, avoid going outside around dawn and dusk when pollen counts are higher, and change your clothing or take a shower to get pollen out your skin and hair.

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