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Nevada's Allergy Season Is Starting Earlier and Earlier

Plants in Nevada have been blooming earlier and earlier every year.

That means allergies flare up earlier, too.

What do changing weather patterns mean for people with allergies? 

“For the last five years, we’ve observed pretty much what everybody is seeing that we had shorter winters and earlier springs,” Asma Tahir, the supervisor of pollen monitoring at UNLV. 

However, Tahir pointed out the number of days of the pollen season has stayed the same it is just that the season has started earlier.

Joram Seggeve is an allergist-immunologist at UNLV. He said there are two things at play when it comes to pollen and pollen-producing plants. The first is local weather patterns and then there are global trends.

“Overall more warming, longer spring,” he said.

But Seggeve said it depends on the plant and the pollen. He said some pollinating plants are giving off more pollen earlier and others have not shown a change.

In Northern Nevada, there's been a change in juniper, which is the first pollinating plant to cause a problem for allergy sufferers, said Boris Lokshin, an allergist-immunologist from UNR.

Lokshin said originally the university would shut down the monitoring station for juniper through January but that has changed.

“But we found more and more people complaining of symptoms. So we started counting earlier and earlier,” he said.

To prevent problems, Lokshin advises people know what plant causes them the most trouble, know when that plant is blooming, close their doors and run the air conditioning if they can.

“Be aware of when your peak pollination time is for your particular allergies and at least close the house,” he said.

He also suggests allergy sufferers should shower before going to bed to remove pollen from hair and body, instead of bringing the pollen into bed with them.

Seggeve said while people might think they're suffering from allergies year-round its more likely irritation from particulate matter, dust, dry air or air pollution.

Asma Tahir, supervisor, pollen monitoring, UNLV; Joram Seggev, allergist-immunologist, UNLV; Boris Lokshin, allergist-immunologist, UNR

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Kristy Totten is a producer at KNPR's State of Nevada. Previously she was a staff writer at Las Vegas Weekly, and has covered technology, education and economic development for the Las Vegas Review-Journal. She's a graduate of the Missouri School of Journalism.