Saturday July 4, 2020



March 28

Are these low temperatures a good sign for allergy sufferers?

Chillier temperatures push down New Jersey pollen counts, but allergy suffering continues

Published: Tuesday, March 27, 2012, 3:10 PM      
A drop in pollen counts due to falling temperatures won't aid allergy sufferers much, according to Dr. Leonard Bielory, an allergy specialist with Rutgers Center of Environmental Prediction. Bielory measures and reports daily pollen counts in the New Jersey/New York region.

Allergy sufferers in Central Jersey may not get much relief today or tomorrow, even with the cooler temperatures.

Total pollen and mold count is 1096 today, March 27, a moderately high number, according to Leonard Bielory, M.D., an allergy specialist with Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital and the Rutgers Center of Environmental Prediction at the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences.

With the drop in temperatures, tree pollen counts (154 today) are relatively low compared with counts earlier in March when they climbed into the thousands, Bielory said in an email.

Still, Bielory said, “The actual count is high so that allergy sufferers will be feeling it, especially (if) they are sensitive to oak or birch.” Those species have just started to pollinate, Bielory said.

An apparently unique aspect of today’s pollen count is that pine and elm pollination is falling just as oak and birch have begun to pollinate, Bielory said.

Current mold counts are moderate, he said.

To lessen the impact of seasonal allergies, Bielory advises minimizing outdoor activity when counts are high — particularly between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.; keeping windows shut and avoid using window fans; dry laundry indoors — sheets and clothing tend to capture pollen blowing in the air, and when mowing or gardening use a filter mask.


March 26

Long allergy season for 2012

2012 Allergy Season Likely To Last Longer 

If you have been suffering from allergies in New Jersey, there is bad news and bad news about the severity and length of this allergy season.

And a lot of what allergy and asthma sufferers ill deal with can be pinned on the darker side of that mild winterwe have been telling you so much about. Since mother nature was given the opportunity to put the state into an early…some would say premature…bloom.

Robert Wood Johnson asthma and allergy researcher Doctor Leonard Bielory says because of the warm winter and an early start to the tree pollen season, this year’s overall allergy season is likely to be long, and tough for those who are struggling to feel better. He says, “right now, people who have no allergies may start developing allergies because of the intensity and the duration of the overall allergy season this year.

In addition, Bielory says mold spores from rotting grass and leaves also got an early jump this year, so that part of the allergy season will likely be extended for mold allergy sufferers.

Every year, there are three stages to the pollen season for allergy sufferers. It begins with the tree pollen season, which s where we are now. That is followed by grass pollen in the summer and finally ragweed. Bielory says there can even be a second ragweed season in the fall at times.

Audio Version: 

Source: NJ 101.5




March 23

Hayfever Treatments

News - Can a plant treat hayfever?

If you're sneezing away, your eyes are itching, and you're cursing plants and their pesky reproductive strategies that cause you horrible hayfever every year, then would you trust another plant to cure you?

At this time of year, we're all constantly inhaling the pollen that trees and plants are releasing into the air. Hayfever occurs when someone with a sensitized immune system inhales this pollen, and cells in the lining of the nose, mouth and eyes release histamine.This triggers the symptons of an allergic reaction, with the sneezing, the itchy eyes, and runny nose.

As sufferers will know, it can make spring and summer miserable, and make it hard to concentrate at school. The usual treatment is with anti-histamine drugs, but can a plant offer a solution?

The AoB blog reports on a new possibility, with a small perennial plant from northern Europe, Petasites hybridus(common butterbur).

"The usual treatment is with anti-histamine drugs, but a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial by Alina Dumitru et al. (Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology; doi:10.1016/j.jaci.2011.02.045) demonstrates that Ze 339 (petasol butenoate complex) – extracted from Petasites hybridus, a member of the Asteraceae – combats nasal mucosa swelling faster and more effectively. Furthermore, Ze 339 also appears to have a preventative effect."

Source: SAPS (Science And Plants for Schools)

March 20

Hay Fever

Hay Fever Is Delayed, Not Diluted

Published: September 10, 2003 

Dr. Leonard Bielory, an allergist in New Jersey, was startled by the size of the giant ragweed plants he saw in a field while hiking last week on the Appalachian Trail near the Delaware River. He said some were eight or nine feet high, or two to three feet taller than those he saw there late last summer. Some plants of another species, short ragweed, ranged up to six feet, nearly twice the height of last year's, he said.

''They were very green and lush, with thick stems,'' recalled Dr. Bielory, director of the Asthma and Allergy Research Center at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in Newark. ''It took some muscle to pull them out.''

That is sorry news for hay fever sufferers.

Dr. Bielory and other allergists who take daily counts of ragweed pollen for the National Allergy Bureau in Milwaukee say this summer's ragweed crop is a little behind schedule, but heartier than usual, in the metropolitan region. They predict that pollen will be more bountiful and will persist beyond the usual peak dispersal period of mid-August to mid-September.

''It'll be delayed, powerful and prolonged, not delayed and puny,'' said Dr. Clifford W. Bassett, an allergist at Long Island College Hospital in Brooklyn. ''People are going to continue suffering for the next four to five weeks.''

Said Dr. Bielory: ''It's a late start. Misery is going to be longer.''

Dr. Bielory said the persistent rain in late spring and early summer was to blame for the bumper crop. The moisture helped growth, he said, and also delayed the plants' maturation and blossoming and the customary beginning of their release of pollen around Aug. 15.

Hay fever sufferers who thought they had been spared this summer's agony of itchy and irritated eyes, bouts of sneezing and coughing and runny or stuffy noses have been tricked by nature, Dr. Bielory said. The season is under way now and will likely persist until early October, with daily counts of ragweed pollen ranging from moderate (10 to 49 grains of pollen per cubic meter of air) to high (50 to 499 grains per cubic meter), he said.

According to the National Allergy Bureau, moderate levels produce allergic symptoms in many individuals who are sensitive to ragweed pollen. At high levels, ''most individuals with any sensitivity'' to the pollen will have symptoms.

Souce: New York Times

March 19

What does this warm weather really mean?

A warming trend

Are early blooms, nasty pests signs of seasons to come?

3:54 PM, Mar. 8, 2012

The USA’s freakishly warm winter may have played a role in the ferocity of last week’s early-season tornado outbreaks.

But in New Jersey, the conditions that led to the severe weather that claimed at least 39 lives in the South and Midwest only helped.

“What was really hurtful to the Midwest and the South was beneficial to New Jersey,” said David A. Robinson, the New Jersey state climatologist at Rutgers University.

He said the storms of last week gave good rains to the Garden State, parched after a dry February. That has helped cut back on the brush fire risk, he said.

Not only dry, February was also a warm month in New Jersey – the fifth mildest February on record.

The warm weather has triggered early pollen counts and the itchy eyes and wheezing that arrives with it. Pollen first showed up on March 3 last year. This year, the first counts showed up on Feb. 22. More mold spores because of lack of snow cover added to the problem, said Dr. Leonard Bielory, a physician and a professor in the environmental sciences department at the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences at Rutgers University in New Brunswick.

At the Leonard J. Buck Garden in Far Hills, snowdrops, crocuses, dwarf netted irises and other cold hardy plants are already blooming. Plants are springing up about a month early.

Bugs are also emerging early.

“Usually we don’t get calls until the end of May, beginning of June,” said Michael Russell, vice president of sales at Action Termite & Pest Control of Toms River. Action got its first residential account Tuesday, he said.

Singleton weather episodes like tornadoes cannot be reasonably tied to larger climactic changes like global warming, Robinson said.

But there’s little question that the dice are loaded for warmer weather, he said.

“Winter will still exist,” Robinson said. “But New Jersey is getting warmer — period.”

He said 53 of the last 74 months have been warmer than average. And the average is based on a comparison of months between 1981 and 2010, already a mild period.

That is kind of alarming,” Robinson said.

Yielding the violent weather of last week in the South and Midwest, moist air from the warmer-than-usual Gulf of Mexico clashed with cold air from the north, but there was another factor. Strong subtropical jet stream helped spin up the atmosphere, which helped create the tornadoes, he said.

This year's unusually mild winter has led to ocean temperatures across the Gulf of Mexico that are approximately 1 degree C (1.8 degrees F) above average, said meteorologist Jeff Masters of the Weather Underground. This places it among the top ten warmest values on record for this time of year, going back to the 1800s, he said.

Friday’s tornado outbreak was fueled, in part, by that unusually warm, moist air flowing north from the Gulf due to the high water temperatures there, Masters said.

This exceptionally warm air set record high temperatures Friday afternoon at 28 airports in Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Georgia.

But it’s too soon to ring the alarm bells on climate change being responsible for this, Masters said.

“The tornado database going back to 1950 doesn't show any noticeable increasing trend of strong tornadoes in recent decades,” he said.

But warmer winters — and an earlier arrival of spring due to a warming climate — will allow tornado season to start earlier and end earlier, he said.

“This year’s early start to tornado season is consistent with what we would expect from a warming climate,” he said.

Last year was a bad one for tornadoes. A single outbreak between April 27 and 28, 2011 killed 350 people.

Why the back-to-back years of heightened activity?

“As unscientific as it sounds, bad luck is ultimately the main reason for the elevated number of casualties,” said meteorologist Steve Bowen of Aon Benfield, a global reinsurance firm. “Tornadoes can strike anywhere, and unfortunately, several cities and towns in the last two years have been directly in powerful twisters' paths.”

Looking at long-term trends, these sort of deadly tornado seasons are not out of the ordinary.

“While the level of fatalities has spiked in recent years, the sheer volume of tornadoes and the widespread coverage is not unprecedented when looking back through history,” Bowen said.

“Multi-state tornado outbreaks causing hundreds of fatalities have been recorded as far back as the late 1800s. However, as urban sprawl further expands and the population increases, there are certainly more chances for fatal tornado occurrences,” he added.


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Location: Springfield, NJ
Today's Date: July 04, 2020
Station Director: Leonard Bielory, M.D
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