As the temperature rises, so does the misery of allergy sufferers. The Valley’s frigid winter suppressed the blossoming of plants and trees, but experts say March’s unseasonably warm weather is ushering in a season of sneezing and watery, itchy eyes.
“(The heat) moved in quickly and we got this big surge of pollen,” said Dr. Mark Schubert of the Allergy Asthma Clinic. “Those trees that were hibernating all just blossomed at once.”
Following a cold January and temperate February, the past days have been hot, hot, hot.
Wednesday’s high was a record 91, 16 degrees above normal and the second straight day of 90-plus weather. Phoenix’s offi cial thermometer usually records its first back-to-back 90s in early May.
Near-record highs are expected through Saturday.
For people susceptible to allergies, the worst is yet to come. In two weeks, pollen counts should peak and continue for about a month, Schubert said.
“Once it gets above 100, it will start to burn things down,” said Dr. Stuart Agren of the Family Allergy Clinic in Mesa. “You get things drying up and dying out in the fields where the rain has worked to bring them up in the first place.”
How to avoid allergy triggers
• Remove weeds and unwanted grass before they produce pollen.
• Fertilize and water Bermuda grass lawns liberally, and cut the lawn once a week.
• Or, if your Bermuda lawn is not a well-maintained hybrid, such as Tif, consider killing your grass in the summer.
• Prune pollen-producing trees located near windows.
• Stay indoors during windy weather.
• If you have a moderate or severe pollen allergy, wear a pollen mask when working in the yard.
• Change evaporative cooler pads and water before starting cooler operation and once a month during evaporative cooler operation. Consider cleaning the ductwork.
• If you have air conditioning, change the filters and consider obtaining an air purifier with a HEPA filter for the bedroom.
• Drive with the windows up and the air conditioning on recirculate.
• Hay fever sufferers should use a humidifier in the bedroom at night.