For Immediate Release
Contact: Tom Capezzuto
Late Winter Barrage Won't Delay Arrival of Robust Pollen Season
3/23/05—Old Man Winter's late season barrage of snow and ice in late
February and much of March won't delay the start of the pollen
season now that the spring weather has arrived, said an allergy
expert at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey
"The winter was tame until late February and early March,
but pollen-producing tree buds, weeds and grasses are on schedule
for their normal blooming period," said Dr. Leonard Bielory,
director of the Asthma and Allergy Research Center at the UMDNJ-New
Jersey Medical School in Newark. "Some of my patients are already
experiencing discomfort earlier than usual."
Nagging sneezing fits and itchy, watery eyes are typical symptoms
associated with the perennial arrival of the allergy season. "Patients
with allergies need to see their physicians now to minimize the
discomfort that pollen brings," Dr. Bielory said.
Prescription medications, including histamine injections, and over-the-counter
medications are both recognized as traditional treatments, he said.
Alternative approaches, such as herbal nasal sprays and organic
compounds, may be beneficial to some patients. Other ways of controlling
pollen are based on common sense.
"Keep your home and car windows shut and use air conditioning
as much as possible to minimize the effects of pollen," Dr.
Bielory warned. He also cautioned that people with allergies not
overlook that pollen can be a primary trigger for potential life-threatening
"Allergies, in fact, account for nearly 90 percent of all
pediatric asthma attacks and nearly half of adult asthma episodes,"
Dr. Bielory added.
To discuss the early arrival of pollen season with Dr. Bielory
and treatment options available, call Tom Capezzuto of the UMDNJ
News Service at (973) 972-7273.
A daily pollen count, available both in English and Spanish, may
be accessed by calling UMDNJ's 24-hour hotline at (973) 972-6518.
A pollen count fact sheet also is attached to provide additional
--March 23, 2005