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Allergy Season Set To Ramp Up!

Allergy season will be ramping up in the weeks ahead, so what can we expect? Meteorologist Michael Behrens spoke with a U-M allergist to find out!

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Allergy season in West Michigan has been off to an up and down start with periods of both milder and well below average weather. However, as the weeks ahead start to bring in warmer forecasts more consistently, we know our season will only be getting worse from here. 

The four main categories of seasonal allergens are trees, mold, grass and weeds. Tree pollen comes around first every year, followed by an increase in molds as temperatures warm up, though mold can be present all year long. 

Following this, grasses start to increase pollen production as we head into May through July, followed by weeds during the late summer and into early fall. 

It's important to note that climate change has been extending the length of allergy season, both in terms of the start and the close. Warmer weather earlier means trees produce pollen sooner and warmer weather later means the weed season can go deeper into the fall. 

So what can we expect for this allergy season? 

Dr. Mariel Benjamin, an allergist at University of Michigan Health, says there is no clear pattern just yet, thanks to our up and down weather these past few weeks, but expects tree pollens and mold counts to really ramp up soon. 

She also mentions that changing climates can add as many as 40 days to our allergy seasons in the coming years. This is on top of increased levels of CO₂ increasing the amount of pollen plants can produce.  

We dive deeper into this topic and allergy season as a whole in the extended interview below:  

Now, as for what you can do about allergy season this year, Dr. Benjamin recommends starting first with over the counter remedies. She says nasal sprays are generally the best place to start, followed by antihistamines. 

If you still can't get a reprieve from the pollen, then seeing an allergist, like Dr. Benjamin, may be your best course of action to find relief. 

-- Meteorologist Michael Behrens

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