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Springlike February weather could mean rough start to NJ allergy season

You may be loving this unseasonable February weather New Jersey is experiencing, but if you’re an allergy sufferer, there’s bound to be a trade-off.

Dimitri Zimmer, ThinkStock
Dimitri Zimmer, ThinkStock

According to Dr. Leonard Bielory, a professor with the Center for Environmental Prediction at Rutgers University, the recent warm stint not only caused some minor issues for New Jerseyans who are sensitive to pollen; it also paved the way for a more severe start to allergy season when springtime weather becomes a more common occurrence.

Given the pollen-friendly conditions of warm temperatures and sunshine heading into and during last weekend, tree pollen release was registered by experts, and there should be at least a low pollen count in the area over the next few days that can bother the most severe allergy sufferers, Bielory explained.

“However, when it warms up again, it will explode because it’s already primed,” Bielory said, noting allergy season starts ramping up around Mar. 15 in the Garden State.

Tree pollen peaks heavily during the second or third week of April, according to Bielory. As that decreases, grass pollen hits, followed by weeds, and then ragweed in the middle of August.

Check the latest pollen counts

Dr. Leonard Silverstein, an allergist in Saddle River, said the busy season in his area typically occurs around Mother’s Day each year.

Despite the nice stretch of February weather, Silverstein on Monday did not have one patient complaining of allergy symptoms.

When the real allergy season hits, his office immediately knows, he said.

“You can always tell because it’s like a switch turns and the phones go absolutely ballistic at the same time,” Silverstein said. “You can’t even believe what you’re seeing.”

Humans typically develop allergies to the environment at a young age, but Bielory said those allergies can also start later in life.

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