Allergy Sufferers Brace For Tough Season

By Todd Gutner, WBZ-TV
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BOSTON (CBS) – Spring is officially here and so are spring allergies. The mild winter and recent record high temperatures has allergy sufferers bracing for what could be a very tough and very long season.

The tree pollen season typically starts in April and peaks in May. This year, allergists are already getting calls from their patients.

Jessie Handler, knows all too well the frustration of allergies. “Usually my eyes water a lot, and I have a stuffy nose and it is sort of hard to breathe,” she described during a recent trip to see her allergist.

“Is it going to be the worst season ever – is what everyone wants to know. And the answer is you really don’t know,” says Dr. Daniel Steinberg at the Allergy and Asthma Center of Massachusetts.

We may not be able to predict the pollen season but we do know, thanks to the second warmest winter here in Boston ever, plants are blooming early. Joann Vieira is the Horticulture Director at Tower Hill Botanic Garden in Boylston. She has been keeping a close eye on the plants all winter long. “I would say we are at least two weeks ahead of schedule in things that are blooming in the garden right now,” says Vieira while surveying the plants.

Not only is she seeing an earlier bloom but if the weather conditions stay just right we could also be in for a longer pollen season. We’ll know soon if this is true for grass, weed, and ragweed pollen later this year.

To ward off serious allergy symptoms, Jessie gets shots once a week. Dr. Steinberg’s advice to people who can’t stop sneezing this Spring, “Get tested, get treated, and get better.”

For more information on conditions and treatments of allergies check out: The American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology website and for a daily update on the current pollen count log onto Pollen.com.

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