March 14, 2012
It appears spring has indeed sprung. Though the Vernal Equinox is still a week away, you could have fooled the birds, who are already chirping away in the unseasonably warm March air. True to form, the flora and fauna are springing back to life after their winter dormancy. With the welcome temperatures and the greening of the landscape, comes another beacon of spring—allergy season.
And like spring itself, it’s well ahead of schedule.
Allergy season, also known as hay fever season, is already being felt by its sufferers. With the forecast for this week pushing 70 and even 80 degrees, the temptation to enjoy lunch on a park bench is undeniably great. Each afternoon spent taking deep breaths and enjoying the sun on your skin is also another afternoon of exposure to the increasing pollen count.
Tree pollen should start exerting itself over the masses towards mid-March and would typically peak near the end of April. It is followed quickly by the onslaught of grass pollen, which appears in the Midwest also at the end of April and continues through the end of Memorial Day. The weed pollen, which needs the heat of summer, sprouts near the end of August and torments us all until the end of September. Certain molds do very well in the dry heat, as well.
If our warmer-than-average trends continue, we may not need a jacket, but look for antihistamine shortages and facial tissue end caps at your local drug stores all summer long.
In Kansas City, tree pollen started making the news as "High" on Feb 29. The early appearance, at two or three weeks, may not sound like much, but in terms of allergies for the season, it is a foreboding sign of sniffles, red eyes, and congestion to come.
While the line at walk-in clinic stretches on and the doctor’s main line rings busy, some may turn their gaze to the Internet for information and relief. Whether you are seeking a text on how to use a Neti Pot or a guide for foods to ingest or avoid, our adult non-fiction collection holds them all. Through the MCPL research databases, such as Alt HealthWatch or Health and Wellness Resource Center, you can find recipes for making your own nasal rinse, suggested herbs and teas to incorporate into your diet, or industry articles about the rising pollen count and what it means long term.
With enough information and preventative medicine, maybe we can all chirp with the birds.