‘A perfect storm for people with allergies’: Doctor warns of a longer, higher-pollen-count season in RVA

Health

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — With roughly two weeks until spring, Central Virginia is already experiencing above average temperatures and pollen counts in the 700’s.

“This is kind’ve a perfect storm for people with allergies,” says Dr. Michael Blumberg with the Allergy Partners of Richmond.

Dr. Blumberg told 8News the practice has studied yearly regional pollen counts since 1985. Those studies, according to the allergist, show pollen seasons have gotten longer and pollen counts have gotten higher.

“This year is especially unusual because it never really got cold so nothing ever really died out like it usually does,” explained Blumberg.

Allergies struck the Richmond-region hard in 2019. Just last April, a grimy, green film coated cars and windows and was eventually washed out by rains.

Dr. Blumberg says we’re not to that level of visible pollen yet, but symptoms have begun for many.

“You may not be able to see it but its certainly out there and your nose and your lungs will know that you’re being exposed to it,” he said.

So far this year cedar pollen, typical present in February, has persisted into March. Blumberg told 8News other pollens typically still dormant at this point in the season are already popping up.

“The last five days we’re seeing maple and birch and other tree pollens that we usually see in April,” Blumberg said.

With widespread flu season, cold season and fears of the novel coronavirus, many are sensitive to and aware of any symptoms of illness. Dr. Blumberg said allergies don’t normally cause a fever, unless they worsen into a sinus infection.

“What we’re gonna see if obviously a much longer and higher pollen count season in the spring than we’re used to,” Blumberg told 8News.

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