By a Nose Colder Weather Means Shorter Allergy Season

Article excerpt

Below normal temperatures in recent weeks may shorten St. Louis' spring allergy season, experts say.

The allergy season usually begins in late March and early April when trees bloom, filling the air with microscopic pollen spores. Warm, dry weather with light breezes makes the best conditions for pollination.

But the weather has been unusually cold. The average high for March was 50.2 degrees - more than three degrees below normal. The average low was 31.8 degrees - more than a degree below normal. That's likely to shorten the suffering for the more than 400,000 area residents with allergies. "It could be a severe season, but definitely it will be shorter," said Dr. Raymond Slavin, director of the division of allergy and immunology at St. Louis University School of Medicine. Because of its climate and rich variety of pollen-producing trees - 19 types of pollen-producing oak alone - the St. Louis area has a reputation for having one of the worst allergy seasons in the nation. "It is terrible," said Dr. James Wedner, an allergy specialist at Washington University. "We have one of everything. We are just in the right area where we have a lot of seasonal allergies." Juniper, elm, ash and oak tree pollens are the culprits during the spring. Springs and summers are moist, which leads to high mold counts. …