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April 25

Rain and allergies

Torrential rains ease fear of drought in N.J.

April 23, 2012

By Phil Gregory
All the rain over the weekend is easing concern about a drought in New Jersey.

State climatologist Dave Robinson says rainfall measuring up to three inches around the Garden State has boosted ground water levels and soil moisture. That has reduced the threat of wildfires.

Dr. Leonard Bielory, an allergy specialist at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, said the wet weather is also providing some relief for allergy sufferers.

"It's going to give a reprieve for this week. The moisture is scrubbing the air," Bielory said. "The rain now hitting the pollen plants will actually make the pollen wet and maintain them on the trees and the grass."

Bielory cautions, though, that the worst of the allergy season may be yet to come when the trees and plants dry out again and send out even more pollen.

Source: http://www.newsworks.org/index.php/local//item/37397-torrential-rains-ease-fear-of-drought-in-nj/


April 24

Was the rain helpful?

Tree pollen counts plummet after rain, but allergy sufferers aren't in the clear in New Jersey

Published: Monday, April 23, 2012, 5:43 PM     Updated: Monday, April 23, 2012, 6:54 PM

The weekend's rain gave allergy sufferers relief for the first time in weeks, washing extremely high levels of tree pollen out of the air.

Last week the grains of pollen per cubic meter in New Jersey topped 4,500. Today it was 11.

Storm clouds over trees

The rain also washed grass pollen from the air, but relief from seasonal allergies could be short-lived. While tree pollination should wind down by month's end, grass pollen has already started appearing and usually wraps up just in time for Fourth of July picnics.

Spring is normally the busiest time of year not just for accountants but doctors who specialize in allergies and immunology. This year allergy sufferers started calling early, said Dr. James Fox at Fox Skin and Allergy Associates in Hunterdon and Somerset counties.

Patients who had milder symptoms in previous years are reporting "a lot of problems with nasal congestion, itchy eyes . . . in some cases it has brought on asthma," said Fox.

Fox has practiced in this area for 28 years and said he wouldn't be surprised if the tree pollen season, which started early, ends "a week or two early." However, some allergens tend to overlap in individuals and Fox said that's the case with tree and grass pollen and, in late August through late September, ragweed.

In the spring tree pollen is the yellow powdery coating everything sitting outdoors. We don't see grass pollen.

Fox said that mold's usually not linked to the three and, if someone has symptoms year-round the trigger is probably something like dust mites or animals.

Allergy sufferers may be desensitized through a series of regular injections, over several years, containing a small amount of an allergen. So why doesn't breathing in the allergen produce the same effect?

With immunotherapy shots, said Fox, the allergen stays in the tissues, allowing the body to develop a tolerance over time. But each type of pollen is only out about a month out of each year. When the antibody IgE reacts to a particular substance, such as pollen, it triggers the release of histamines and allergy misery.

And, this is another one of those things that you can blame on mom or dad — Fox pointed out that there's a genetic predisposition to developing allergies.

Antihistamines, nasal sprays and eye drops are "all reasonably effective" at "reducing the reaction," he said, "especially if started early."

Seasonal allergy symptoms tend to first appear during someone's teens or early 20s, said Fox. Doctors can test for allergies with a prick of a pin. For the most accurate results, no antihistamines should be taken for several days to a week in advance of the testing, he added. If there is a reaction, it develops at the pin prick site within about 15 minutes.

He said there's much that's new in the allergy arsenal. "Some vitamins may reduce allergies, but it's minimal," he said. Cool compresses will soothe "burning" eyes. Neti pots and eye washes may offer some relief but "won't block the histamines or block inflammation," he said.

Dr. Leonard Bielory, an allergy specialist with Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital and the Rutgers Center of Environmental Prediction at the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences., measures and reports pollen counts for the New York/New Jersey area.

He reported last weeks very high levels and today's drop. He also said that the data suggest that tree pollination has started a week earlier each year over the past three years.

Source: http://www.nj.com/hunterdon-county-democrat/index.ssf/2012/04/tree_pollen_counts_plummet_aft.html


April 23

Rain rain stay our way..

Rain on the way could bring relief to New Jersey allergy sufferers, at least for a few days

Published: Friday, April 20, 2012, 12:15 PM     Updated: Friday, April 20, 2012, 12:16 PM
 
Walks in the park should get a little easier for allergy sufferers after this weekend's rain, according to a Central Jersey allergist. Photo by George Pacciello.

Gardeners in Somerset aren’t the only ones who’ll benefit from the expected rain this weekend. Allergy sufferers should get a break from the itchy eyes and running nose that's plagued them for weeks.

That’s because the dry weather has not only kept the unusually high levels of pollen in the air, it has also helped bring more pollen into the area from the west.

“It’s been a very bad season,” according to Dr. Edwin Schulhafer, a staff allergist at Somerset Medical Center, Hunterdon Medical Center in Flemington and Overlook Hospital in Summit. “The drought is partly responsible.”

“Tree (pollen) counts have reached incredibly high levels for the past several days and will remain high,” said Dr. Leonard Bielory, an allergy specialist with Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital and the Rutgers Center of Environmental Prediction at the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences.

According to Bielory, who measures and reports pollen counts for the New York/New Jersey area, the data suggest that tree pollination has started a week earlier each year.

Rainfall has been at 25% of what’s normal for the season, said Schulhafer. Without rain to wash it from the trees and out of the air, pollen shed earlier in the season stays around and is added to as new species pollinate.

Moreover, Schulhafer said, the lack of rain allows the predominant easterly wind to carry pollen here from as far away as 200 miles inside Pennsylvania.

Since pollen is “pretty regional,” he said, most of New Jersey faces the same conditions.
In fact, if you’re looking for relief by trying to escape the affected area, Schulhafer said, head to one of the state’s off-shore barrier islands, such as Sandy Hook. The wind coming in off the ocean pushes the pollen back to the mainland.

Rain should start as a drizzle tonight before the chance of rain climbs to 70% Saturday afternoon, according to the National Weather Service. A 60% chance of showers tomorrow night is likely to be followed by steady rain on Sunday and showers on Monday, April 23.

With the head start that maple and oak pollination has had, this end-of-April scrubbing could bring allergy suffers to the end of the tree pollen season, although Bielory said that “extremely high” levels of birch are likely by the end of April,” Bielory said.

That doesn’t mean you should put away the tissues.

Grass pollination, “a novel finding for this time of year,” Bielory said, “is marching higher and higher each day.” 

Source: http://www.nj.com/messenger-gazette/index.ssf/2012/04/rain_on_the_way_could_bring_relief_to_new_jersey_allergy_sufferers_at_least_for_a_few_days.html 


April 20

Bad allergies this week?

If your allergies are making you miserable this week it's probably pollinating trees — which are also responsible for that powdery yellow film coating everything left sitting outdoors.

The pollen count for trees exceeded 1,500 per cubic meter of air for the first time this month on April 10 — the level at which most people notice their allergy symptoms — and rocketed up past 4,500 by Saturday.

Wednesday, it was down oh-so-slightly to 4,016, still well within the range that causes the most severe allergy symptoms. And the tree pollen count is expected to remain high for the next few days, according to Leonard Bielory, M.D., an allergy specialist with the Rutgers Center of Environmental Prediction at the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences.

He reported that tree pollination has moved up a week earlier over the past three years.

"The tree counts have reached incredibly high levels for the past several days and will remain high with the predominant pollen being from oak trees," said Bielory. "This will be followed by extremely high levels of birch by the end of April. The yellow powder covering cars is 'all pollen.'"

A "novel finding for this time of year," Bielory added, is the appearance of grass pollen. Normally seen in May, he explained, it was noted in late March this year.

March pollen levels, in fact, were "the highest in the past 25 years for that month" and the counts suggest that "the pollen season has started very strong this year and practically one month earlier," said Bielory.

— nj.com/starledger


April 19

High allergy symptoms

Tree pollen counts skyrocket in N.J., fueling allergy symptoms

Tree Pollen Count April 18, 2012Tree pollen counts soared over the past week in New Jersey, making seasonal allergy sufferers miserable. The counts, total tree pollen per cubic meter of air, were supplied by Dr. Leonard Bielory, professor at Rutgers University's Center for Environmental Prediction.

If your allergies are making you miserable this week it's probably pollinating trees — which are also responsible for that powdery yellow film coating everything left sitting outdoors.

The pollen count for trees exceeded 1,500 per cubic meter of air for the first time this month on April 10 — the level at which most people notice their allergy symptoms — and rocketed up past 4,500 by Saturday.

Today it was down oh-so-slightly to 4,016, still well within the range that causes the most severe allergy symptoms. And the tree pollen count is expected to remain high for the next few days, according to Leonard Bielory, M.D., an allergy specialist with the Rutgers Center of Environmental Prediction at the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences.

He reported the spring pollen counts today, April 18, and said that tree pollination has moved up a week earlier over the past three years.

"The tree counts have reached incredibly high levels for the past several days and will remain high with the predominant pollen being from oak trees," said Bielory. "This will be followed by extremely high levels of birch by the end of April. The yellow powder covering cars is 'all pollen.'"

A "novel finding for this time of year," Bielory added, is the appearance of grass pollen. Normally seen in May, he explained, it was noted in late March this year.

March pollen levels, in fact, were "the highest in the past 25 years for that month" and the counts suggest that "the pollen season has started very strong this year and practically one month earlier," said Bielory.

Birch, oak, hickory and sycamore are among the active pollinators.

Bielory and colleagues at the Center for Environmental Prediction have been studying the impact of climate change in New Jersey and throughout the U.S. for the potential impact of allergies. Bielory is also director of the STARx Allergy and Asthma Center in Springfield, New Jersey.

He first reported noticeable pollen counts for allergy sufferers in February this year and offered tips for lessening the impact of seasonal allergies

Source: http://www.nj.com/hunterdon-county-democrat/index.ssf/2012/04/tree_pollen_counts_skyrocket_i.html


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Location: Springfield, NJ
Today's Date: June 23, 2017
Station Director: Leonard Bielory, M.D
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