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Allergy Season Forecast for MD: Keep the Tissues Handy

March 22, 2012

BALTIMORE - Runny noses and itchy eyes are a sure sign of spring in Maryland for those with seasonal allergies.

Tree pollen counts have been in the moderate-to-high category since early this month, with maples, ashes and poplars the main culprits.

National Wildlife Federation climate scientist Dr. Amanda Staudt says the mild winter means spring allergies will play out longer than usual.

"Because some of the trees are starting now and some of the trees won't get started until when they normally do ... it's not going to be a great year for allergy sufferers."

Staudt says the changing climate is setting up conditions in which more allergy-causing trees can take root.

"The warmer temperatures could allow significant expansion of the habitat suitable for oaks and hickories, which are two highly allergenic tree species."

The situation will be even worse for those with fall allergies, says Staudt, adding that conditions are ripe for a record crop of ragweed, a common allergen.

Maryland pollen forecasts are available online at weather.com.

Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - MD