(KMSP) - Now that the snow is, hopefully, done flying, we are heading into the spring and summer seasons, which means the sniffling and sneezing returns. Not because of colds or the flu, but from pollen.
While many of us look forward to the turn toward warmth, it spells a miserable time for some Americans. Temperatures generally climb slowly through March, April and May which may make you think that pollen levels return just as slow, but unfortunately that’s just not the case.
Pollen counts can go from near zero to the top of the charts in just a couple days’ time. While our spring bloom hasn’t even started yet, our pollen count is running VERY high. That’s because our current high pollen levels are coming from trees.
Unlike grasses and flowers, trees release the majority of their pollen ahead of the bloom to get the most of the warm season and to make sure they are ready to fire up leaf production as soon as it is warm enough. This is why the spring bloom seems to happen overnight, because trees are more than prepared every year.
For the allergy suffers though, this is just the start of a likely pretty intense few weeks ahead. Thanks to our extended cold and snow, pollen levels will be ridiculously high for a while as our spring bloom is condensed. Tree pollen typically peaks for a couple weeks in early to mid April and then overall pollen levels relax a bit before the flower and grass pollen begin in mid to late May. But this year, we are likely to get hit with many different sources of pollen all at once, so it could be a pretty ugly spring for allergy sufferers.
Allergy symptom intensity can vary widely from person to person depending on what types of pollen you are allergic to, but typically July is the least pollinated month of the warm season when the heat starts to take its toll on many plants. But of course, we then head into ragweed season in August and September.