GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — If you have seasonal allergies, you know how bad the last couple of months have been.
Allison Steiner, a professor of climate, space sciences and engineering at the University of Michigan, said warmer temperatures impact the intensity of the allergies and how long they’re sticking around.
Researchers have found that by the end of this century, pollen emissions could begin 40 days earlier in the spring than seen between 1995 and 2014. However, they are still trying to understand the year-to-year variability and why we see more pollen in some years than others.
Steiner thinks a late start to spring weather this year has impacted pollen.
“We had a very cold and wet spring, so things were pretty delayed for different types of plants. Now everything is coming out all at once. My perspective is that right now, a lot of different types of trees are putting all their pollen out rather quickly because the leaves are coming out quickly as we see everything green up pretty fast,” said Steiner. “If we have a spring that’s a little bit more gradual, trees would start to come out one by one.”
Steiner said even if you get rid of your backyard plants that spread a lot of pollen, what’s in the neighborhood will still impact you.
She added mowing the lawn can also help. When you cut the grass, you may cut the flowers before they begin spreading pollen.
Steiner notes extreme weather situations can change your reaction to pollen.
“When we are seeing a lot of precipitation, that is not conducive for the plants to come out and release the pollen. So usually, those warm and dry days with a lot of wind are when you will have the highest exposure to high-driven pollen coming from trees and grasses,” said Steiner.
When asked if there is a correlation between COVID-19 and higher sensitivity to season allergies, Steiner said recent studies so far do not show a strong connection, but that could change as researchers learn more about the virus.