🌳 NJ’s pollen storm-nothing to sneeze at

🌳 Tree pollen is driving some people crazy

🌳 Relief is in sight but a new pollen threat is looming

Those orange pine pollen clouds that were covering your car every morning are mostly gone but New Jersey is now facing a different kind of “pollen storm” that could cause more misery for allergy sufferers.

According to allergy expert Dr. Leonard Bielory, a researcher at Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine and a member of the Kean University Center for Aero Biological Research, April showers bring May flowers but they also bring higher pollen counts.

He said for the past few weeks “we’ve had predominantly tree pollen and it’s primarily birch and oak.”

Brunette sneezing in a tissue
Wavebreakmedia Ltd

It's causing misery

Bielory said they can cause significant allergic reactions including itchy eyes, a runny nose and in some individuals “inflammation in their lower airways, they can have an asthma attack.”

He noted a growing number of people are now testing positive for food allergies, and that’s significant because “hazelnuts and other items cross-react with pollen such as birch, and so, therefore, people starting noticing what we call an oral allergy syndrome.”

That may cause itchy symptoms in the throat, mouth and lips.

Allergy problems are increasing

Man Coughing into Arm/Elbow
Sharon Barnes ThinkStock

A higher percentage of the population is now struggling with allergies than in previous years.

“They’re being allergic to more items, not just one or two but perhaps three, four or five at the same time," Bielory said.

He said if you are suffering with allergies right now, “wearing a mask does filter the pollen out, it does work especially if you work outside, if you’re a gardener or anything like that.”

Limit time outside


He said in addition to wearing a mask “we highly recommend that you don’t work between 9 a.m. and 12 noon in a garden when the wind is blowing and the pollen is just being released.”

He noted there are a variety of nasal washes that can also help relieve symptoms and if you are suffering significant allergy issues you should consider getting immuno-therapy allergy shots.

He said fortunately the current pollen storm is expected to calm down in the next several days, but we’re not out of the woods yet.

“Grass pollen will pick up where the trees drop off, and it’s interesting to note with grass pollen there may be more ocular symptoms, with the eyes,” he said.

David Matthau is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at david.matthau@townsquaremedia.com

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