Warmer temperatures and a blast of tree pollen: Spring allergy season arrives in DC region

The D.C. region is getting its first taste of the spring allergy season this week.

“As is usual for this time of year in the Washington, D.C., area, we’ve got our early flowering tree species out and about,” said Susan Kosisky, chief of the U.S. Army Centralized Allergen Extract Lab, which is based in Silver Spring, Maryland, and tracks pollen counts for the area.

The lab said Wednesday that tree pollen had ticked up into the “moderate” range.

“When patients are very, very sensitive to tree pollens, they will start to feel it at these lower levels,” said Dr. Rachel Schreiber, a physician at Schreiber Allergy, in Rockville, Maryland.

“We want our patients on their medications for the spring now.”

Schreiber said many allergy drugs are available over-the-counter and in generic form, but that checking with your doctor before taking any of them is best.

Additionally, “anything that you can do to make a physical barrier between you and the outside world will be helpful,” she said.

That includes wearing things like a mask, sunglasses and a hat. Allergy sufferers should also keep windows closed, check air filters and shower at night to remove pollen.

Kosisky said peak pollen is expected in April: “As long as it stays relatively warm, you’ll have some of these other area species kicking in, and the count will continue to climb.”

The tree pollen count registered as “high” Thursday.

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John Aaron

John Aaron is a news anchor and reporter for WTOP. After starting his professional broadcast career as an anchor and reporter for WGET and WGTY in Gettysburg, PA, he went on to spend several years in the world of sports media, working for Comcast SportsNet, MLB Network Radio, and WTOP sports.

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