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It’s not your imagination: Allergy season more severe, lasting longer

April 18, 2024 - Your Health Matters

Spring often means new beginnings, but for allergy sufferers as of late, their springtime symptoms started well before the vernal equinox.

Paul Mauriello, M.D., with Meritus Allergy & Asthma Specialists in Hagerstown said that, over his more than 37 years of counting pollen in Western Maryland, the spring allergy season seems to be shifting earlier. He has been finding pollen in February in recent years, he said.

This year, in fact, he found a count of 23, which is considered medium level, on Feb. 12.

It mostly has to do with the temperature at which different vegetation buds, Dr. Mauriello said. Different families of trees bud at different temperatures. Then come grasses. Then come other plants.

And each one releases their own brand of pollen.

“If we have a cold spring, and it warms up all at once, then everything will bud all at once and we’ll have pollen counts up into the thousands,” he said. “But then, it’s over in two weeks.”

The past few winters and springs have not been as cold, which leads to successive waves of vegetation budding from mid-winter into early summer, which means a prolonged pollen season.

“Most everybody can live through a horrible but short allergy season,” Dr. Mauriello said. “But more people are going to be bothered for longer if that season is from February through June. And if they’re sick for that long, it feels more severe.”

However, it’s the end of April into the beginning of May that Dr. Mauriello says his practice sees the most patients seeking relief.

“The moment to strike is now,” he said. “The pollen count is coming up, and we’re starting to see more people calling in for help.”

For those coming in with new allergy symptoms, a nasal steroid is most likely the remedy.

“Antihistamines are helpful, but they’re not always as effective as steroids,” he said.

In extreme cases, injection treatment might be in order if the allergies are prolonged and repeated year after year. Dr. Mauriello welcomes children, adolescents and adults to reach out for an appointment if they are struggling with allergies.

Do you want to know what the pollen count is? Dr. Mauriello checks the gauge daily at his office in Hagerstown. Updated counts can be found by going to and scrolling to the bottom.

Meritus Allergy & Asthma Specialists treat adults, children and adolescents for more than just seasonal allergies. To learn more about the practice or to schedule an appointment, go to the website or call 301-790-1482.

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Paul Mauriello, M.D.

Meritus Allergy & Asthma Specialists

Allergy & Asthma