“Pollen Tsunami” Wreaking Allergy Havoc in Philly Region

So much itchiness. Is climate change to blame?

A “pollen tsunami” is making Spring 2015 one of the worst years ever for allergy sufferers in the Philadelphia region, and across the northeast United States.

CBS Philly:

Emergency rooms in Philadelphia have seen a significant increase in the number of people with asthma problems related to the high pollen counts. That triggered an advisory from the city’s health department, warning all doctors that they may see more patients.

Dr. George L. Martin, chief of the division of allergy and immunology at Lankenau Medical Center, says it’s one of the worst spring allergy seasons he’s ever seen.

“We’re having a major problem,” Dr. Martin said. “People find it harder to breathe because they have all this mucus clogging their airways, and then they develop adema, or swelling, of the airways, just like you develop adema, or swelling, in your nose, an inflammation in your airways as well.”

NJ.com explains:

“Pollen tsunami” is the latest name for the current allergic assault on many noses and eyes, and it has some validity as a moniker, said Sanaz Eftekhari, external affairs manager for the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

That’s because Mother Nature is now unleashing a burst of pollen because the long, cold winter slowed the release of early-season tree pollen. So rather than have different pollens released over a longer period, this season there has been a huge batch of
pollen all at once.

Basically, we’re playing a game of botanical catch-up.

NBC News adds:

Oak and birch trees — the “big bad” pollen makers — are coming out at the same time as the seasonal ones like poplar, alder and ash. And soon the grass pollens arrive.

“It’s a triple whammy,” Dr. Clifford Bassett, medical director of Allergy & Asthma Care of New York. “The early and mid-spring tree pollen and the grasses are hitting all at once to create misery and suffering.”

That’s the bad news. The worse news, according to NJ.com? “Combined with global climate change, severe pollen seasons may become the norm.” Better stock up on antihistamines.