Early blooms bring brutal days for allergy sufferers

Local News

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) –  It’s not unusual to see the pollen count reach its peak during springtime in the lowcountry.

“Pollination here is much earlier, it is more intense and the pollen seasons are longer here,” says Dr. Meredith Moore, an allergist at Charleston Allergy and Asthma. “Warm weather signals to the trees that it is time to start blooming and spring is here.”

However, Dr. Moore says allergy sufferers may not be used to seeing the pollen count rise so high, so soon. Several warm days in February led to early blooming and pollen release. It’s not likely going to go down any time soon.

“You have trees that pollinate earlier in the season, that’s what we’re seeing now. As we progress into march we’re going to see a shift to trees that pollinate later, but we’re still going to see lots and lots of tree pollen out there.”

The air is also thick with grass pollen, and because the lowcountry is home to many different kinds of grass, the season will last until late summer. Then it’s on to weeds.

“We’re going to move through weed pollination season with another big peak in the fall before things start to wind down for the holidays.” said Dr. Moore.

Different immune systems also mean different triggers. Many are born with a proclivity to become allergic to something, but the reaction comes after exposure. It may even be the second or third exposure that causes the reaction.

Some people may be allergic to a certain pollen and never know until they move to an area where they are exposed to it.

It’s also often thought that rain will help. Dr. Moore says it only provides temporary relief.

“Rain does help the get pollen in the air that has been dispersed down onto the ground,” she says. “But the moisture will help more pollen release come. So, for long term it doesn’t fix the problem”

She says if symptoms persist longer than a couple of weeks, it could be time to see an allergist.

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