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Spring arrives with high levels of pollen

Published: May. 14, 2019 at 2:12 PM AKDT
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It's not your imagination, allergy season has arrived with a more potent punch. And prepare yourself, the prediction is for a continued trend of earlier and longer lasting seasons.

According to Dr. Jeffrey Demain with the Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Center of Alaska, this year Anchorage recorded Alder pollen on April 2nd, while in past years, it would turn up in the middle to end of April.

Dr. Demain says the reason for the earlier arrival, is because of earlier frost-free days and warmer temperatures.

He goes on to say, "The pattern of earlier and longer seasons is seen globally and associated with the changing climate we are observing."

Demain also sites increasing atmospheric CO2 with an increase in the amount of pollen per plant and an increase in allergen potency of each pollen grain.

Currently, tree pollen is peaking, particularly Birch. Demain says it's measuring at a level considered "very high".

The peak times for tree pollination occurs around 10 a.m. through early June, so he says that's a good time to limit physical activity if you are allergic.

He warns that pollen can also travel hundreds of miles, so even if the peak is earlier in the day, you could still feel the effects of pollen flying in from Fairbanks mid-afternoon.

And prepare yourself, grass pollination hits in June, followed by weed pollination in July.

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