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Allergy season expected to start earlier, be more severe this year

Posted at 7:33 AM, Mar 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-10 07:41:03-05

RICHMOND, Va. — We are halfway through a nice, warm week in Central Virginia, and you may have noticed your allergies are already starting to act up.

In past years, Richmond has been called one of the worst allergy cities in America.

"We have a lot of beautiful trees in a city, but then we also get all the pollen from the Shenandoah Valley flyover, so we almost get a double dose of pollen that makes allergies especially bad," said Dr. Margaret Sigman at Advanced Allergy and Asthma.

Allergists said allergy season in the Central Virginia area seems to be starting earlier and getting worse every year, and this year is no exception.

Sigman said they’re already seeing an increase in patients.

"This week, we're already going to be having medium to high levels of pollen," Sigman explained. "So we're definitely seeing all the allergic patients with the itchy and watery eyes, sneezing and runny nose."

According to Sigman, this year's wet winter is partially to blame for the early pollen.

If you're spending time outdoors, Sigman said it can be helpful to take a shower before you go to bed, and be sure to wipe off your pets paws and coat when they come inside because pollen can linger on their fur.

It’s also a good idea to keep your windows closed, and to try out over-the-counter allergy medications, but, Sigman added, if that’s still not helping, you may want to see an allergist.

While many are excited for the next few days of nice weather, pollen counts are expected to be high the rest of the week.