Kansas City,
11:27 AM

Kansas City Star: Dr. Jay Portnoy warns of pollen spike across KC as temperatures warm

With the run of unseasonably warm temperatures, including a handful of days in the 70s, Kansas City is seeing an early spring — and with that, an early start to the allergy season.

Kansas City is seeing a high amount of elm and juniper pollens, which typically start first, said Dr. Jay Portnoy, Director of the Allergy/Asthma/Immunology Division at Children’s Mercy.

“When we start seeing juniper, then we know the season is about to get started, and we have been seeing juniper for several weeks now — we started about the second week of February,” said Portnoy, whose division does a daily pollen and mold count.

That’s about two to three weeks earlier than usual. But there has been a worldwide trend progressing over the past 15 years where pollen seasons have been starting earlier and ending later in the fall.

Blame the warmer weather.

“It’s great for plants but it’s bad for us allergy sufferers,” Portnoy said.

Fifteen years ago, pollen counts of a couple hundred were considered high, he said.

“Now it’s almost routine to see counts that are over 1,000,” he said. “The pollen counts have been getting higher over the years. So at 1,300, anybody who has even an ounce of allergy is going to have symptoms.”

Those symptoms include sneezing and itching, watery eyes and runny or stuffy noses.

There typically isn’t anything that starts pollinating or producing spores in the colder months of the year. Likewise, if you start having symptoms in May and June, that’s a little late for a cold, but it’s peak for grass pollen allergy season.

Another clue: If you routinely have cold symptoms recurring the same time every year, that’s likely an allergy. Itchy eyes, nose or throat would suggest you have an allergy rather than a cold.

However, if you have a fever or muscle aches and pains, you probably have a cold.


Read the full article via the Kansas City Star.

Learn more about the Children's Mercy Allergy, Asthma and Immunology department.

Check out the pollen count for the day.