Central Oregonians already sneezing, wheezing

By: A.J. Kato
Posted: Feb 01, 2018 09:39 PM PST
Updated: Feb 01, 2018 09:39 PM PST

It’s still winter, but spring is in the air. And for some, the warmer weather this High Desert winter is bringing an uncomfortable side effect with it: allergies.

Mild winters can lead to an early allergy season, because they cause trees to pollinate earlier. Juniper is the first plant to pollinate in Central Oregon.

“I think we are starting to see people having allergy symptoms now. Normally, I would say juniper pollen season starts in mid-March,” Dr. Adam Williams, an allergy and asthma specialist said Thursday. “And when it’s this warm, we start to see it a month or even six weeks earlier than normal.”

Williams said he’s already hearing about allergies from patients.

“People don’t normally think of allergies as hitting this early,” Williams said, “and it’s really important that people be aware that if they are a juniper pollen allergy sufferer and they’re starting to have symptoms in early February, yes, it absolutely could be the juniper allergies this year.”

Williams recommends not waiting, if you feel your allergies being triggered. The earlier you start treatment, the better.

The U.S. is also in the midst of cold season, and the symptoms of a cold, such as sneezing, congestion and a runny nose, can be similar to allergy symptoms. Williams said there are differences to look for.

“Clues that I use are: Is it something that happens to you every year around the same time? With juniper pollen allergies, especially, the eyes are involved. They’re usually itchy and watery, which isn’t as much of a problem with colds,” Williams said.

He also said to note the length of time you’re feeling sick. If symptoms are with you more than a few days, it’s likely allergies.

But if you’re suffering now, there is a silver lining.

“Just some observations I’ve made over the years is: When we have these early seasons, they seem to be not as intense, because the pollen, in my observation, seems to leak out slowly over several weeks, instead of just a sudden explosion,” Williams said.

He also said rain or snow will help knock pollen levels down.

See original story here.

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