Dry Winter Brings Suffering To People With Allergies

If you're sneezing and coughing through your day, you're not alone. This spring has been a rough one for allergy sufferers.  

"There's people who tell me that they haven't had problems for years that are coming up," said Dr. Peg Strub, chief of the department of allergy, asthma and immunology at Kaiser Permanente San Francisco. "There's some patients that have done pretty well on medications that are now telling me they're ready to start shots. So, you know, we're kind of seeing the gamut, but I would say people are definitely suffering this year." 
The weather is partially to blame, and the changing climate might play a role, too. Strub said a dry winter is typically followed by a bad allergy season. Pollen counts done by Kaiser show high levels of juniper and cypress pollen in San Francisco, and grass pollen is showing up a little bit ahead of schedule.
A 2010 study suggested that climate change was causing some allergy seasons to start sooner and others to last longer. And some -- like cypress-- were doing both, beginning nine days earlier and going 18 days longer in Italy, where the study was done. Strub said those results would likely apply here, too.


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