Get out the tissues.
A warm winter and the recent blast of summer-like temperatures have triggered early pollination of some plants and trees and early symptoms of allergies in Marblehead and around the area.
“It’s definitely the earliest pollen season we’ve seen in years,” said Marblehead resident Dr. Eyal Oren, an allergist at Asthma and Allergy Affiliates. “We’ve been measuring pollen and posting on our Facebook since the first week in March. Historically, we’ve never even measured in March. It’s definitely an early season, and it’s catching people by surprise.”
With recent rains, there has been a bit of a quiet period, but the pollen is rising again, said Oren.
Early spring pollen is predominantly from two species of trees: poplars, like aspens and cottonwoods, and junipers, or evergreens. Grass and ragweed tend to pollinate later in the season and into the summer.
Oren said that the “big players” are birch and oak trees, which have not pollinated yet. Usually, birch pollinates in mid-April, while oak is seen around Mother’s Day.
“I’m willing to bet we’ll have birch this week and oak by the end of the month,” he said. .
However, an early start to allergy season doesn’t mean an early finish, according to allergist Dr. Andrew MacGinnitie of Boston Children’s Physicians South in Weymouth.
“The season won’t necessarily end early. It will just be longer than usual,” he said. “The longer it lasts, the worse people’s symptoms get. Even if pollen count isn’t up, inflammation in the nose gets worse with each additional day.”
Pollen counts on Monday, April 2, were moderate. The predominant allergens were willow, poplar, maple and juniper.
Oren said that those suffering from allergies should take their medications now versus waiting until later in the season. Those with worse symptoms should consider limiting their time outdoors and showering when they get home to remove the pollen. If the symptoms are still not under control, Oren suggested contacting a primary-care doctor or an allergist.
Dr. Bryan T. Ruocco, a chiropractor located at 28 Bessom St. in Marblehead, offers an alternative to over-the-counter medications. He uses a laser beam, comprised of densely packed photons, to alter the body’s negative reactions.
“I get rid of [allergies]; I don’t even treat them,” said Ruocco. “We have a laser system that deals with retraining the body that certain things are good when the body thinks they’re bad. An allergy is an immune response, and the body sees it as a bad thing and tries to attack it. … So we test the individual to see what they react to the most and send those same digital signals back in their skin at acupuncture points using the laser. Then the body sees that signal as a good thing.”
To learn more about Ruocco’s laser treatment, contact his office, Seaport Chiropractic Health and Wellness Center, at 781-631-3333. To view video testimonials of his patients, visit www.seaportchiropractic.com.
Asthma and Allergy Affiliates, with the nearest office to Marblehead located at 114R Highland Ave., Salem, keeps tabs of the pollen count on its website at allergynorthshore.com, Facebook at www.facebook.com/AllergyDocs and twitter @pollencounts.
Quincy Patriot Ledger reporter Jessica Trufant also contributed to this story.