"Pollen Vortex" Could Make a Late Spring Unpleasant for Allergy Sufferers

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Girl suffering from allergies outdoors

    We hear it every year... that it's "the worst allergy season ever."

    Some of you may already be feeling it, but scientists tell us the pollen has been below average so far this season. That could mean one of two things: Either this year's allergy season is a bust, or we're in for a pollen nightmare down the line.

    "It will be a shorter period by a number of weeks, but you will see it all hitting very intensely," Dr. David Shulan, a fellow with the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, told NBC News.

    Lori Roberts is already feeling the wrath of the trees. As a seasonal allergy sufferer, she's no stranger to spring-time sneezes.

    "It feels like a stuffy nose, almost like a cold, but you have itchy, watery eyes," Roberts said.

    While lots of people have been complaining of allergy symptoms, doctors tell us that the pollen count right now is actually way below average.

    On Thursday, for instance, the pollen count was 97. That's just one-tenth of the average count this time of year, which is usually 950.

    "It's been an unbelievable season in that we've seen so little pollen," said Susan Kosisky, chief microbiologist for the U.S. Army's Allergen Extract Lab. "The numbers are high enough so allergy sufferers are going to feel it, but if you look at past data, we've been 50 percent below our normal daily average."

    She counts the pollen every single day, taking samples from the lab's rooftop, and then examining it under a microscope.

    Kosisky said that due to this winter's brutal temperatures and a delayed spring, the trees are just starting to bloom. But if we get a few days in a row of 70-degree, sunny weather, then allergy sufferers better watch out.

    "The oaks, the mulberries, the birches, cottonwoods, ash, the sycamores; all of our heavy producers are ready to flower and release the pollen," Kosisky said.

    Dr. Talal Nsouli, an allergist, said that while he's already seeing an increase in patients, he's expecting more in the next few days as temperatures start to warm up once again.

    "Patients that have allergies are going to be expecting more symptoms due to a significant, continuous increase in the pollen," Nsouli said.

    Roberts said she's already bracing for some are calling a pollen vortex.

    "I'm going to try and stay in, and that's basically it, and stay on my medication."

    Storm Team 4 Meteorologist Tom Kierein said that oak allergies are extremely common, so many people are going to be feeling the effects, especially as oak pollen counts jump.

    Those sensitive to pollen should stay inside as much as possible.

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