DENVER — Most of the trees still look like they’re closed for winter, but they are already making pollen. Allergy season has arrived on the Colorado Front Range.
“Year after year, there’s always going to be someone that tells me this is the worst season yet or this season feels worse than last year," Dr. Flavia Hoyte with National Jewish Health said.
Hoyte said for an allergy sufferer, every season is bad but there are a few factors that could really make this allergy season a little worse.
The snowy winter may provide some trees and plants with the fuel to grow in strong and healthy which could translate to more pollen. But that precipitation would have to continue into the spring.
Another part of spring weather on the Front Range – wind.
"So trees are wind pollinated, grasses are wind pollenated, and weeds are wind pollenated," added Hoyte. "So on windy days, that’s when the pollen flies everywhere and it usually flies hundreds of miles."
But if the weather doesn’t beef up pollen season – climate change might. Studies have linked an increase in pollen through the years with the increase in carbon dioxide.
Increased pollen counts have also been linked to an increase in air pollution.
"So, it’s almost like an adjuvant. The pollen almost latches onto the pollution so it’s a double whammy," Hoyte said.
And the growing season is getting longer with warmer temperatures. On the Front Range that’s mostly happening in the fall when weed pollen is highest.
Hoyte said pollen allergies in Colorado are no picnic, but it could be worse. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America ranks Denver as the third most allergy friendly city in the country.
Colorado's dry climate means dust mites and molds are less of a problem. And our winters are no match for plants.
"So it’s a better place than somewhere like Florida. If everything’s growing year-round then you may not get a break," said Hoyte.
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