Allergy season could be double whammy

The long, cold winter may come back to haunt allergy sufferers.

Some allergy experts predict that the pollen count this year will be significantly higher because the delay in the blooming of trees means they'll be blooming along with everything else, creating a double whammy for people who are allergic to tree and grass pollen.

They say that normally, trees start pollinating in early April or May but because we had the late winter and it's getting warmer, the trees will be emitting the same amount of pollen over a shorter period of time and they'll be blooming along with grass, flower and other plants.

"In terms of past seasons, I don't know if this has come up to such a dramatic degree as it has this year. I don't recall hearing about this phenomenon before," said Dr. Devi Banerjee,  with the clinical immunology and allergy division at the Montreal General Hospital.

Banerjee said allergy sufferers can protect themselves by taking their medication and avoiding going outside during peak pollen count periods.

"If they're going to be doing a lot of outdoor things, then when they get inside their homes they should keep their windows closed so that pollen doesn't enter into the home. Wash their hair, for example which can have accumulated an amount of pollen from being outdoors, that kind of thing," Banerjee said.

Melting of the recent snow is also contributing to mold growth which can worsen allergies.

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