Spring allergy season is here.
Time to stock up on extra nasal spray, tissues and start taking your allergy medication. The mild, wet winter and the presence of El Niño could spell trouble for allergy sufferers in Atlanta, as forecasters are expecting a brutal allergy season in 2016.
What is El Niño?
From the NOAA website:
The term El Niño refers to the large-scale ocean-atmosphere climate interaction linked to a periodic warming in sea surface temperatures across the central and east-central Equatorial Pacific.
Typical El Niño effects are likely to develop over North America during the upcoming winter season. Those include warmer-than-average temperatures over western and central Canada, and over the western and northern United States. Wetter-than-average conditions are likely over portions of the U.S. Gulf Coast and Florida, while drier-than-average conditions can be expected in the Ohio Valley and the Pacific Northwest. The presence of El Niño can significantly influence weather patterns, ocean conditions, and marine fisheries across large portions of the globe for an extended period of time.
How El Niño Affects Atlanta Allergies
Any year that the El Niño weather phenomenon is active contributes to lots of rainfall. Weather is an important factor in how much pollen is produced by local plants, how it’s distributed and the volume of pollen in the air at a given time.
The wet weather helps trees and plants develop very healthy root systems. When the warmer weather arrives and the allergy season starts, their root systems are ready to release massive amounts of pollen.
Another issue is the mild winters and early arrival of spring, a phenomenon that’s been increasing the past several years.
Some scientists believe that more carbon dioxide in the environment may also cause plants to release more pollen this time of year.
As many forecasters predicted, our allergy season arrived a few weeks early in mid-February. Start prepping now to get a jump on the season:
- Resume any allergy medications, especially allergy shots
- Monitor the pollen numbers and avoid being outdoors as much as possible
- Add a HEPA filter to your Air Conditioning system
- Use a HEPA filtered vacuum and keep your home as dust and pollen free as possible
- Keep your sheets & pillows covered during the day to avoid pollen landing on the surface and making your nights miserable
- Consider showering before bed to prevent getting pollen on your pillowcase (and making your allergies flare up overnight)
Hopefully, the predictions will be wrong. If they’re not and your allergies are getting the best of you, schedule an appointment to see one of our award-winning, board certified allergy doctors. We’ll help you feel better quickly.