Early pollen season problematic for allergy sufferers

11:59 PM, Mar 22, 2012   |    comments
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  • Tree pollen is rampant in West Michigan

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- Tree pollen; walk around outside and you will find it everywhere.

Tree pollen counts have exploded recently, following nine consecutive days of record temperatures for West Michigan, causing misery and annoyance for allergy sufferers.

Typically Maple and Box Elder trees tend to pollinate first, peaking in mid-spring. This year, the pollination time frame has moved up five weeks, causing actual pollen counts to skyrocket.

Grand Rapids ranked 35th in the nation in terms of being "the most challenging place to live with spring allergies," according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

Some people have already resorted to shutting windows and turning on the air conditioner. While precautions can be taken, allergy specialists say there's not a lot people can do to avoid the early season allergens.

"There are medication options, and then there are non-medication options," said Dr. Vincent Dubravec, an allergy and asthma physician. "Medication options would primarily be antihistamines; a lot of them are over the counter. They help with the sneezy, itchy, runny [nose symptoms]. The decongestants can help with stuffy [nose symptoms]."

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