There are plenty of reasons to be excited that spring is finally here. The sun is out, it’s warming up, flowers are in full bloom, and school is almost out! But while no one misses the cold and snow and rain and general gloom of winter, there’s one thing is has over spring: no allergies. Once March hits, allergy season gets into full swing. For seasonal allergy sufferers, that means the nastiness has descended. Itchy, watery eyes. Noses that run like faucets with clear snot. Sore throats and sneezing. It’s not great! And while most of us can sort of manage our allergies with medication, it can still be a real bummer. Well, I have some bad news for you, allergy sufferers: this allergy season is shaping up to be one of the worst yet.
Spring is lovely. But spring is also the start of allergy season. So we have a love/hate relationship with it.
Maria Castells, an allergist and immunologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, says fluctuating pollen levels are to blame for the severity. She told The Boston Globe, “It’s going to be a pretty severe year because
already been several bursts of pollen out there that have been in between days where the temperature has gone down, so pollen is not being released in the air. And there will be very few bursts in the next week or so. There is a lot of pollen from the trees that have not been released and will continue to be in the air.”
In other words, those late season snow and ice storms have delayed the release of pollen. So the pollen that was ready to go into the air wasn’t allowed to, due to the low temperatures. But now that it’s warming up, the pollen is like, HEY GUYS.
Obviously, as parents, one of the first things we want to do when it finally gets warm is get our kiddos outside! They’ve been cooped up for much of the preceding months. For their sake (and our sanity), they need to GFTO and play outside. But Castells warns not so fast. She suggests staying inside in the early morning hours, when pollen is being released. It’s much safer to plan outdoor activities around 5-6 p.m., when it’s settling for the day.
Another step you can take to minimize allergies during allergy season: don’t sleep with your windows open.
“I know that’s hard now that we’ve had a long winter, we’d love to have a little bit of air in the bedrooms, but that’s kind of dangerous because all the pollen grains starting at 4 and 5 a.m. start to come inside the bedrooms and start to inflame the nose, the eyes, the throat, the lungs,” Castells said. “Then when people wake up in the morning they start to cough, they start to feel like they can’t really sleep well, sneezing, and not being able to breathe through their noses.”
So buckle up, allergy sufferers. Stock up on Claritin and Flonase, and keep those windows closed overnight for now. Pretty soon it’ll be over! And then all we have to contend with is blistering hot summer days. Oh, and our kids asking for snacks 18267484 times an hour.