A lot of Garden State residents are sneezing, wheezing and coughing, but they don’t have a cold or the flu.


Allergy expert Dr. Leonard Bielory, a professor at the Rutgers University Center for Environmental Prediction, says because of the warm wet weather we’ve for weeks now, there’s a tremendous amount of mold spores outside.

"It’s just been increasing symptoms for patients suffering from nasal allergies,” he said. “We get eye involvement, and people are starting to cough, post nasal drip and even wheeze."

While mold is the primary reason why so many folks are suffering with allergic reactions, there’s another problem as well.

“I go hiking every day, almost every day and I’m seeing actually plants being tricked into sprouting as if it were springtime," Bielory said. "I see rhododendrons starting to create a bloom, I see some trees starting to bud, it’s really atypical for this time of year.”

He said high levels of mold are on leaves and other debris that many people have on their lawns. So how do we get rid of the mold that's making us sneeze?

“To kill off the mold we need four weeks of below freezing temperatures,” Bielory said. “But if it then warms up into the 60s and 70s the mold spores will then regenerate and we’ll literally have another wave of individuals having symptoms.”

He also said if we continue with rainy, warm weather pattern “the spring pollinating season in March will be quite brisk, it will start earlier and it’ll be stronger.”

Conversely, if our weather turns colder for a prolonged period of time, he said it will delay the release of pollen in the spring.

“We haven’t seen some of this mold spore elevation since Hurricane Irene,” Bielory said. “People then had a lot of respiratory, ocular nasal and ocular eye involvement, and we’re seeing the same thing now.”

David Matthau is a field reporter for New Jersey 101.5. Contact him at david.matthau@townsquaremedia.com.

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