Early Allergy Season Packs a Pollen Punch - by wbay weather first alert

By Aisha Morales
Published: Mar. 21, 2024 at 6:35 AM CDT on WBAY Weather First Alert

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Allergy season started early this year -- and it’s aggressive. Tree pollens are packing a punch.

We spoke with Dr. Steve Kagen, an allergy specialist well-known in Northeast Wisconsin. He has decades of experience and says tree allergy season and the pollen reports we’re getting are a month early.

The first thing Dr. Kagen wants you to know is, climate change is real. He says it affects everyone’s health and we need to get used to dealing with allergies over a longer period of time. He also says it impacts the economy because farmers end up with less grain, making the food we eat more expensive.

Dr. Kagen says our recent weather patterns and lack of moisture, whether rain or snow, is what’s ramping things up. Dry conditions create more of that pollen.

It’s a domino effect, but here’s something else that will surprise you: The latest pollen report, as of Wednesday, March 20.

For comparison, the total pollen count, which is the average number of pollen grains per cubic meter, for allergy season in 2022 at this time of year was 50. That’s the cumulative total.

Last year it was zero -- at this time, allergy season hadn’t started yet.

This year, it’s already 3,228.

Cumulative pollen totals

Moving forward, Kagen says the fall will be interesting, too. He expects ragweed will be just as aggressive.

Dr. Kagen says he treats patients, not pollen counts, but it helps to measure the risk when we see low, moderate, or high risk of symptoms on our allergy reports.

The Kagen Allergy Clinic website also has a useful tool where you can see if your symptoms are allergies, a cold, or COVID-19.

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