EUGENE, Ore. (KMTR) - Just a few weeks until the official start of the spring allergy season and allergists say they’re already seeing patients who are feeling the effects of pollen.
Allergists say early March is traditionally the time when pollen counts start ratcheting up, even with rain showers.
Over the weekend, a brief break of sunshine in western Oregon brought out stuffy noses and itchy, watery eyes for many. Some of the most recent pollen count numbers support the sniffles, showing a moderate concentration of tree pollen.
Eugene-based allergy doctor Candice Rohr says most of the pollen is coming from juniper, birch and alder trees. Doctors are not currently seeing any weed or grass pollen.
The only thing that can stop tree pollen are cold temperatures. In winter 2012, much of western Oregon stayed colder for longer; the lower temperatures helped push the start of allergy season back to April and May.
In moderate temperatures, just a short dry period of minutes can send pollen counts climbing fast.
“Once it stops raining, amazingly . . . it takes about twenty minutes for the pollen to start moving again. [With a] warmer rain, you know like 55 [to] 60 degrees and it hasn't completely washed [the pollen] out, then actually the pollen will just start back up again,” said Dr. Candice Rohr with the Allergy and Asthma Center in Eugene.
Dr. Rohr says people should try to take advantage of airing out their houses in March to prepare for the allergy rush. Many homes have been closed up for the winter months. In that case, dust mite counts are typically pretty high inside homes, according to Dr. Rohr.
According to Dr. Rohr, the best time to air out your house is on a slightly rainy, cooler day.
As the season changes in the coming weeks, NewsSource 16 will have daily updates on local pollen levels in every newscast and on KMTR.com.