Thu March 29, 2012

Sniffle! Pollen Count At Highest Level In Over A Decade

As smoke continues to hang over the Front Range from the Lower North Fork Fire southwest of Denver, people with and without allergies are suffering. And warm temperatures, coupled with the smoke are hitting allergy sufferers with a one-two punch.

Around this time every year, allergy sufferers – like me – start to feel their eyes itch and we constantly have to fight off the need to sniffle and sneeze. But even without the wildfire smoke things are worse this year. Dr. Jeffery Rumbyrt is with Denver Allergy and Asthma Associates. 

“We’re seeing people in full blown allergy attacks. This year has been a great exception because of the warm weather the pollen counts have been very high. And over the last week, have literally exploded.”

As trees begin to bloom winds spread pollen across the state. And Rumbyrt says pollen levels are at their highest in over a decade.

“We do pollen counts everyday in our office, and just compared to last week the pollen counts have increased 40 fold from where they were last week.”

So what’s going on?

The recent record breaking temperatures along the Front Range and plains has caused many different species of trees to pollinate at the same time a rare occurrence that Rumbyrt says is causing allergic reactions for many people earlier then they’re typically used to.

And last week at the end of the week, we even saw pine pollen which doesn’t usually show up until May. So there’s something different about that, with the different species are coming out earlier as well.”

With the pollen count being so high, and so early, does that mean it will last twice as long? Dr. Rumbyrt doesn’t think so. But people with grass and weed allergies may have to steel themselves for a tough allergy season.

It’s hard to predict, because so many things influence pollen from warm weather, to how dry it is or how wet it is, the types of patterns we have, so…we’ll see.”

Temperatures and winds are expected to go up over the weekend.