Tell me something I don’t know [Link: LiveScience]:
This year’s late spring is bringing a burst of warm days and beautiful flowers. Unfortunately, it’s also made millions of allergy sufferers miserable. And, scientists say, the awful season could be a sign of worse suffering to come.
Unprecedented levels of pollen have been measured across the Eastern United States this April. On April 7, the Atlanta Allergy and Asthma Clinic in Georgia saw a near-record-breaking concentration of 5,733 particles per cubic foot. And in mid-April, Kansas City, Mo., recorded a pollen level of over 8,000 particles per cubic foot, the highest ever seen at that station.
To put that in perspective, 15 particles per cubic foot can cause sniffling and sneezing in those with bad allergies, said Jay Portnoy, the chief of allergy, asthma and immunology at Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Clinics in Kansas City, Mo. At 100 particles per cubic foot, everyone with allergies gets sick. April’s record levels went even further.
“The sheer number of particles in the air was enough to trigger symptoms even in patients who didn’t have allergies, just because of the irritant effect,” Portnoy said.
The culprit for this year’s bumper crop of pollen is the weather, according to Portnoy. Temperatures stayed cool throughout February and March, preventing flowering trees from beginning their annual pollination ritual. Instead of a gradual, species-by-species release of pollen, the trees stored up until the weather got balmy. Then they all released at once.
My allergies are killing me (runny nose, itching eyes, sneezing, headache). I am dying here, you have no idea.
How far away is winter again?