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Allergy Forecast: When Sneezing Season Will Peak In NoVA, DC

Patch logo Patch 3/23/2019 Deb Belt
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WASHINGTON, DC — We've turned the corner to spring! While that means warmer temperatures and the start of the slow crawl toward summer, the season also brings allergies. According to a 2019 allergy forecast from AccuWeather, April and May are when things will get really bad.

The publication’s outlook shows that in northern Virginia and Washington, D.C., allergy season will peak in late April to mid-May, during which time allergens will be high.

“From the Gulf Coast through Kentucky and southern Virginia, grass pollen levels will climb to very high levels in April and May thanks to warm air and ample moisture,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Alan Reppert said in the report.

In the Northeast and Midwest, the pollen will “come out quite fast and strong from April into May” after a slight delay thanks to cool temperatures, according to AccuWeather.

Trees are the main culprit to the pollen cloud and allergies, with the maple, elm and juniper trees wreaking the most havoc on people with allergies, according to Pollen.com. The worst times for allergies are typically dry, windy days.

It's too early for grass and ragweed pollen, says the Weather.com allergy tracker, while tree pollen is low, so far.

High pollen counts can be irritating, even uncomfortable, for all of us. But it's particularly troubling for people with allergies — which are abnormally sensitive or strong reactions by the immune system to a particular substance, like pollen. About 35 million Americans are sensitive to pollen, according to the National Institutes of Health.

The most common symptoms of such allergies include runny nose, post-nasal drip, sneezing, congestion, coughing and itchy or watery eyes. More rarely, they can cause headaches, loss of taste and smell, low productivity and poor concentration, fatigue, sleep disturbances and snoring.

While completely avoiding this level of pollen is impossible, Patient First medical centers of Virginia offers tips for dealing with heavy pollen, particularly for people with allergies:

  • Stay indoors on dry, windy days. The best time to go outside is after a rain, which helps clear pollen from the air.
  • Delegate lawn mowing, weed pulling and other gardening chores that stir up allergens.
  • After spending time outside, take a shower to rinse pollen from your skin and hair and put on clean clothes.
  • Wear a face mask if you do outside chores.
  • Start taking over-the-counter antihistamines when high pollen counts are forecasted even before your symptoms start.
  • Use air conditioning in your house and car.
  • Wash your bedding in hot water.
  • Vacuum and clean floors frequently.
  • Use high efficiency air filters and change them frequently.
  • Use mattress and pillow covers.
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