Allergy season 2021 lasting longer than usual due to warm, dry conditions, experts say

MELROSE PARK, Ill. (WLS) -- Allergies are bad for many people right now, but the cause may not be what you would expect - and the dry weather may be playing a role.

For allergy sufferers like Debbie Woodford, it has been a difficult spring.

"I think they've been extremely bad," Woodford said. "My allergies have been messed up pretty much since it's been warm. So I think it's much worse than last year."

And Debbie is far from alone. Each morning Dr. Rachna Shah, or a member of her staff, comes to the roof of the Gottleib Memorial Hospital in Melrose Park and takes an air sample. After looking at the pollen under a microscope, they can determine what allergens are most prevalent.

"Our typical tree season - which is from March to the beginning of May, it usually ends at the beginning of May - has been drawn out," Shah said.

And that means those that suffer especially from tree allergies have had an especially long season this year. The weather has played a major role in this.

The dry and warm conditions we've seen for much of the spring is part of the reason the tree pollen season has lasted so long.

"What's happened for the last two years or even the past three to four years, I would say, is that tree and grass season came on in a blast and we had a shorter period that was more intense," Shah said. "This year is a longer period, I wouldn't say it's as intense, but it's drawn out."

There are signs that tree pollen is beginning to fall, but that doesn't mean that the worst is over for those of us with allergies.

"We have grass season that's coming up," Shah said. "And so grass season usually starts in mid-May and goes through June. It hasn't even started yet."

You can get the daily allergy count for the Chicago area during select ABC7 Newscasts. You can also visit the following link: Loyola Medicine Allergy Count or call the Loyola Medicine Allergy Hotline at 1-866-4-POLLEN for English.
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