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What's Going This Year?

Dear Dr. Kagen,

I had allergies in early childhood. The doctor told my mother not to worry, that I would grow out of it. Happily the doctor was right and I did "grow out" of my allergies.

That is, until this year. For the first time in 15+ years I've had to buy a box of Allerest. This works fine to control my symptoms and I have never had asthma or lung problems associated with my allergies, so this is not an issue for me.

My question is, why is it so bad this year? I live in the Kansas City metro area.

Thank You,
Boanne L.

Thanks for asking about this terrible allergy season of 1998.

We are experiencing the effects of El Nino. The US has had an unusually mild winter due in large part to the warming of the surface of the Pacific Ocean. The milder winter has produced along with sufficient precipitation a 4 fold increase in the total amount of tree pollination this spring compared to last year in regions of the northeastern US, the mid-west and the central and southern states as well.

Grass pollination has started early and it is 5 times as high as last year, while the total mold spore levels are 9 times higher than 1997.

Even patients with mild allergic disease are having symptoms of runny nose, headaches and itching eyes this year.

The best advice for you is to be prepared to see your local allergy specialist!

Good luck.

Steve Kagen, M.D.
Allernet.com