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From polar vortex to pollen apocalypse?

  • May 7, 2014 - 2:05 PM

Every spring, news headlines warn that we’re in for a brutal allergy season.

But allergy experts are dubious about the annual sky-is-falling predictions.

“I always joke that every year people think it was the worst pollen season ever,” said Dr. Julia Montejo, an allergist with Fairview Clinics. Patients often forget what it feels like to have symptoms after so many months of being pollen-free, she said.

Trees and grass tend to release pollen around the same time every year, with little variation.

“Mother Nature is more fixed than our memories are,” said Mary Anne Elder, research manager at the Clinical Research Institute, the research arm for Allergy & Asthma Specialists, a Twin Cities clinic.

But this year’s especially long and harsh winter, dubbed the “polar vortex,” has spawned many stories predicting that the delayed spring would create an even harsher fallout: a pollen apocalypse. The severe allergy forecast is based on the theory that the trees and grass would release pollen at the same time, creating a double-whammy effect.

Forecasts of a bad allergy season may be accurate, Elder said. “But the worst one yet? Probably not.”Allie Shah

© 2014 Star Tribune