Sarah Stultz: Spring allergy season is already upon us

Published 8:45 pm Tuesday, March 19, 2024

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Nose for News by Sarah Stultz

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been finding myself sneezing and battling watering eyes a little more than normal for this time of year.

My son and I had some kind of respiratory virus back in February that held on for a while, and now that we’re better from that, I’ve been noticing I’m shifting toward what feels to me like spring allergies.

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Minnesota’s peak allergy season for tree pollen is normally April to June, but I have no doubt that because of the mild weather we’ve had this year, that it’s safe to say that has moved up at least a few weeks.

According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, about 81 million people in the United States in 2021 were diagnosed with seasonal allergic rhinitis, which is an allergic reaction to pollen from trees, grasses and weeds, according to an article on People who have this have symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose and congestion; red, watery or itchy eyes; and a worsening of asthma or other chronic respiratory conditions.

The article stated because springtime plant activity is ahead of schedule, there’s more pollen in the area than usual.

Experts are predicting that not only will we have a longer spring allergy season than normal, but we will have a more intense one, too.

In a study published in 2021, researchers found that allergy seasons in North America on average have been starting 20 days earlier, lasting 10 days longer and are producing about 21% more pollen compared to 1990.

While I typically love spring, it sounds like it’s not going to be a fun one for me and my fellow allergy-sufferers this year.

It’s time for me to resume an over-the-counter allergy medication.

And in case anyone is interested, I came across a website called where people can type in their city or zip code and get their allergy forecast.

According to the site, we were expected to have a low-medium pollen levels Tuesday and Saturday, but we’ve already had a few periods of “medium” pollen levels this year.

If you have any tips for handling allergies, send them my way!

Sarah Stultz is the managing editor of the Tribune. Her column appears every Wednesday.