Early spring bloom makes allergies blossom
by Glenn Moore
Mar 08, 2013 | 2504 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Sights of spring
flowering plum blossom on Tracy Boulevard near the Altamont Commuter Express station is lit by the sun Monday, March 4.  Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
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Mild temperatures and plenty of sun have put blossoms on the trees and allergy sufferers on guard in Tracy.

On Monday, March 4, with the first day spring still two weeks away, almond trees southeast of town are filled with blossoms, as are flowering plum and pear trees that line many city streets.

The bloom has put a large amount of pollen into the air, which can aggravate allergic reactions in people sensitive to the pollen.

Dr. Jun Lu, 34, an allergist with Sutter Gould Medical Foundation in Stockton has seen a steady flow of patients suffering from allergy symptoms recently.

“We have seen a dramatic increase in the past month, Lu said. “We have had a ton of patients suffering from itchy eyes and itchy noses along with asthma problems.”

Lu said the high pollen counts in recent weeks can also trigger asthma problems.

Pollen counts have been rising since mid February Lu said with mostly tree pollens affecting patients now.

He recommended allergy sufferers close their windows at night when pollens are released and install a HEPA filter for household air systems to help screen out the pollen.

Over the counter medications can help relieve the symptoms, but he said this is just an early start to the season.

While trees are blooming early now grasses and then weeds are expected to begin their pollination in about a month he said.

Winds blowing in from the East Bay area can make the pollen count up to 10 times greater than the count in San Francisco he said.

According to WeatherChannel.com, Tracy has a particularly high pollen count for juniper, ash and cedar trees. The count for grasses and weeds, however, is relatively low.

Don Scholl, superintendent of the Parks, Sports Fields and Tree division of Tracy Public Works, said city trees are blooming a little earlier than usual this year.

“It has been drier than normal, and the warmer temperatures in the evening have pushed the blooms a bit earlier,” Scholl said. “It does make for beautiful trees.”

Temperatures on Monday reached the high 60s.

Accuweather.com predicts a high of 60 and a low of 35 to accompany rain Wednesday, March 6, before giving way to warmer temperatures and plenty of sunshine during the weekend.

• Contact Glenn Moore at 830-4208 or gmoore@tracypress.com.
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