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Cold winter leads to pollen surge

CINCINNATI (Paula Toti) -- If you found your allergies acting up over the past couple days, you are not alone.
Our extremely cold winter is giving way to what's being called the "pollen vortex."  Which means several types of trees are blooming at the same time.
If all of a sudden you've been hit hard by allergies you aren't alone and you may be happy it's raining Monday night.  The rain washes away the pollen temporarily but it will dry out later in the week.  The mixture of wind with all these buds and everything in bloom all at once may have you rushing for tissue.

It's not just the tri-state but around the country.  Trees that may flower at different times throughout the spring seem to be budding all at the same time.  Doctors Jonathon and David Bernstein are brothers who are allergists and call what's happening with pollen a complex picture. 

Dr. Jonathan Bernstein said, "The pollen season is variable, many times it reflects rainfall from the previous year."

Or the cold winter and sudden burst of warmth.  If it feels like each year more and more people suffer from allergies despite the weather, Doctor Jonathon Berstein says you may be right.

"It is possible air pollution plays a part in the amount of pollen that is coming out as well.  That requires some investigation but it does vary from year to year some years trees  dump pollen and other times more gradual response," Dr. Berstain said.

And his brother is bracing for next week when he thinks we will see a spike in tree pollen sufferers.  With trees being the biggest source of pollen and while the intensity of what they give off may vary from year to year, the treatments remain the same.

Over the counter antihistamines may work for many.  But if more severe symptoms persist nasal steroids from a physician.  Injections they say are also good for management, especially of year round allergies.  But for some people they may have no response to pollen medications and may just have to wait out all the blooms.

I just had a friend text me Monday night saying she was having hives from pollen and just got a medication.  The doctors tell me some nasal issues going around can mimic the pollen symptoms and about 50 percent of patients have both making it tougher to treat.   But most allergies are manageable.  Glasses and sunglasses also help shield your eyes from pollen.

Pollen symptoms can be worse at night when the pollen falls to the ground making it tough for many to sleep with the windows open.  Again, you might be happy about Monday night's rain, washing it away.

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