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Warm end to winter lengthens Kansas City's allergy season

Daily pollen, mold counts change based on weather patterns
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Posted at 10:32 AM, Apr 11, 2024

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Spring! It's a beautiful time of year — flowers are blooming and the grass is growing. But this same scenery is what makes you sneeze!

Unfortunately, this year has been especially difficult for pollen and mold sufferers.

I sat down with Dr. Aarti Pandya, the medical director of the food allergy center with Children's Mercy Kansas City, and she told me that we saw tree pollination happen as early as February, which makes sense.

We recorded our third warmest February ever in Kansas City with an average temperature of 10.5° above normal.

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The pollen pattern we see also follows the weather patterns, especially for mold.

"With humidity levels going up, mold levels could be anticipated to go up as well," Pandya said.

While the weather team tracks daily pollen and mold counts, it’s hard to know when certain individuals will have a more severe reaction than others.

Pandya said we live in a pollen-rich environment.

"In Kansas City, specifically, we have a large amount of pollens that get blown in from the west,” she said.

Heavy rain or a change in the weather doesn't reduce the amount of pollen in the air, Pandya shared.

“You would think after a rain the air washes out, but that’s not necessarily the case," she said. "There are certain pollens that can be disturbed or be higher in the air after a rainy day. So safe to say there’s no safe weather pattern. The time that we anticipate pollen levels to drop off is when there’s a frost.”

But frosts are changing. The North American pollen season has lengthened by 20 days on average.

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In Kansas City, we’re seeing less cold less often. Our warmer winters are allowing the spring to come to life sooner.

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"I think that’s a trend we’ve been seeing over the last couple of years. We’ve been seeing that the season of spring has been starting earlier and earlier based on a variety of factors," Pandya said. "Generally, as things are warming, pollens have the opportunity to bloom when the climate is warmer. So we have observed that pattern over the last couple of years seeing the pollination season happen even earlier than what we used to see.”

As our allergy season evolves, know that KSHB has you covered. Head to our website to check the daily allergy report HERE.