Weather brings on the allergiesAllergy season appears to have hit the Grand Forks area harder this year, thanks to a combination of warm weather and lack of rain. A local pollen count isn’t available, but Dr. Robert Thompson, an allergist and immunologist at Altru Health System, said he can tell when more patients come in.
By: By Tu-Uyen Tran , Forum Communication Co., The Jamestown Sun
Allergy season appears to have hit the Grand Forks area harder this year, thanks to a combination of warm weather and lack of rain.
A local pollen count isn’t available, but Dr. Robert Thompson, an allergist and immunologist at Altru Health System, said he can tell when more patients come in.
And by that measure, he said, this month has been “a little worse than average.”
There’s simply more pollen and mold spore out there.
In Fargo, where the National Allergen Bureau has a counting station, the pollen count was considered to be on the “high” side, which is second highest of five levels. The top three sources of pollen are birch, ash and oak trees.
It’s not that different in Grand Forks, where City Forester Mike Fugazzi said “Some of our crews have been working on ash trees, and they say the amount of pollen on the ash trees they’ve never seen before.” Cottonwoods seemed to also be releasing a lot of pollen here, he said.
“My experience is that we’ve hit a warmer cycle,” he said. “I can’t remember an April where we were so consistently in the upper 60s.”
The long stretch of warm weather has encouraged trees to release pollens while dry weather has encouraged mold to release spores, Thompson said.
Pollen is basically the sperm of the plant world and spores are like baby mold, and spring is their time. But for a person with an allergy, the body treats them as if they’re a germ or some other invasive organism, creating an antibody and causing inflammation, according to Thompson.
He said those with allergies should remember to close windows if they’re going to stay indoors. It’s not yet warm enough for most people to turn on air conditioning and they often just open the windows, but that lets in the pollen and spores, he said. Also, he said, don’t dry laundry outside because pollen will stick to it.
It has indeed been a warmer and drier April, according to the National Weather Service’s office in Grand Forks. As of Tuesday, the temperature was 7 degrees warmer than average and precipitation was a half inch lower.
The average up to April 27 is 41.5 degrees and 1.08 inches of precipitation.
The last time the area saw this combination of warm and dry weather was April 2006, according to meteorologist Dave Kellenbenz. Temperatures were almost 7 degrees above average and precipitation was a third of an inch lower.
The weather service is predicting the dry spell will end today with a 70 percent chance of showers. The high is predicted to be 59 degrees.
Tu-Uyen Tran is a reporter for the Grand Forks (N.D.) Herald which is owned by Forum Communications Co.