Early warm weather leads to early pollen count, Western Maryland health system allergy specialist says

Tree pollen usually doesn’t show up for a few weeks

HAGERSTOWN, Md., Feb. 26, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- If you have been sneezing or wheezing this month, it might not be that cold that’s going around.

Paul Mauriello, M.D., with Meritus Allergy & Asthma Specialists said he found tree pollen when checking his air sampler on Feb. 12.

“This would be the earliest in the season that I have seen pollen in the 37 years that I have been counting,” Dr. Mauriello said, admitting he might have missed a spring over that time. “It’s a couple weeks early, by my records.”

The reason for the early pollen count has to do with the environment, he said. The warmer weather in the first few weeks of February caused the trees – typically the first kind of pollen to show up for the season – to start budding.

“Tree pollen is a temperature-related phenomenon,” Dr. Mauriello said. “Just a few nights of warmer weather, you'll have enough to get going.”

Fortunately for allergy sufferers, the snow that fell in the following days cooled off the pollen production.

But once the weather warms up again, the pollen will return, he said.

“The trouble comes when the buds pop up in February and then it goes on and on chronically,” he said.

So, is that runny nose from allergies or a cold?

Meritus Allergy & Asthma Specialists sees the majority of its patients related to spring pollen, Dr. Mauriello said. If you’ve never suffered from allergies before, it’s likely you have a cold.

“If they’re miserable this spring, and they’re always miserable in the spring, it’s likely allergies,” he said.

However, it’s best to check with your primary care provider if the symptoms continue.

Meritus Allergy & Asthma Specialists treat adults, children and adolescents for a wide range of allergic problems. To speak with one of our practitioners regarding allergies, visit www.meritushealth.com/locations/meritus-allergy-asthma-specialists or call 301-790-1482.


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