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Spring allergies finally calm down, making way for summer pollens

Published: Monday, June 23, 2014 4:01 p.m. CDT • Updated: Monday, June 23, 2014 11:44 p.m. CDT

Weeks after this year's historic winter surrendered to spring, a woman from the Woodstock area was left to deal with what felt like a perpetual cold.

"I felt just lots of congestion," Mary Erlenborn said, during a downtown Crystal Lake stroll Monday. "My nose was just full all the time."

Erlenborn knows it wasn't a cold, but rather an onset of the spring allergy season, the brutality of which had earlier this year been referenced as the "Pollen Vortex."

Eugenia Hahn, a doctor at Advanced Allergy & Asthma Associates in Crystal Lake, said this spring brought in an influx of people complaining about allergies, and it wasn't just the usual crowd.

"It's been horrible for a lot of people," Hahn said. "I've even had people who don't have a known history of allergies complain to me."

The long, unmerciful winter caused trees to bloom weeks later than usual and therefore in tune with grass and weeds, she explained.

"When it gets to that extent, with all that pollen in the air, I would say it's been a tough allergy season."

However, the current conditions are better than what they were a month ago when pollen counts of all kinds were elevated, Hahn added.

On Monday, the National Allergy Bureau, a section of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, indicated on its webpage a low concentration of local tree and weed pollen, a moderate concentration of grass pollen, and a high concentration of mold.

Hahn said it appears seasonal allergens are now on-track as far as what is considered normal in June.

"It seems like we're now in the summer allergy season," she said. "It's still grass and weed pollinating season. That dies out, usually, midsummer."

While her own relentless runny nose has slowed down on its own, Erlenborn said her two granddaughters have resorted to medication to calm bouts of allergy-induced symptoms.

For those who become bothered by the various pollens in the air, Hahn said the best first move is to go to a doctor.

"It always helps to first see an allergist," she said. "We can always help guide medication use and confirm what allergies someone might have."

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