It’s likely to be the new normal:
“It really is unusually early for patients to be this miserable,” says Derek Johnson, medical director of the Fairfax Allergy, Asthma and Sinus Clinic. “The mild winter has resulted in very high pollen levels in February and early March, when they’re typically very low or negligible.” In fact, he points out that tree pollen counts on Feb. 23 were 365 grains per cubic meter, compared with a mere 2.88 a year before. He also notes that because it has been so sunny and warm in the past few months, people have spent more time outside, increasing their exposure to such allergens.
The weather from here on out can change things, but all of the experts I spoke with say they expect the untimely effects to linger. “In past years, we’ve had a very compact, heavy-hitting allergy season, but this is shaping up to be a long slog,” says Gaithersburg allergist Jackie Eghrari-Sabet, who explains that while evergreen trees, such as cedar, cypress and juniper, have budded prematurely, other species will likely bloom at their regular pace, leading to “more of a slow, grand parade” between now and late April to early May, when pollen counts typically peak. “It’s not like because it started early it’s going to end early.”