Tonawanda News — The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America ranked Buffalo No. 15 on its list of spring allergy capitals in a report released in April.
Dr. John Boulos, a Lockport allergist, said there are two main factors that contribute to Buffalo’s high ranking: its local plantation and experience of all four seasons.
“Misery season” starts in early April when many of Buffalo’s trees, like red cedar, hazelnut, elm, alder and aspen, start pollinating, which is when Boulos’ patients start to “flock” to his office, he said. In June and July, grass pollinates. When fall begins, Buffalo’s weeds, particularly ragweeds, pollinate. All strongly contribute to allergic reactions.
Boulos has been an allergist in areas in Western New York for 32 years. In recent years, he’s seen an increase in patients with allergy problems. Last year, Buffalo was No. 25 on AAFA’s list of spring allergy capitals, rising 10 spots since.
The AAFA bases its list on three factors: pollen, the number of medications people use, including prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs and the number of allergists in the area to make sure there’s enough qualitly healthcare, said AAFA spokesperson Angel Waldron.
Waldron said Buffalo rose to the No. 15 spot because of a higher-than-normal incidence of pollen. Tree pollen and the number of medications people use was more than the AAFA felt it should be.
“We know last year that the Northeast had a high incidence of mold due to extreme weather such as (Hurricane) Sandy and the climate change has been able to create warmer climates that enable trees to pollinate for much longer than they did before,” Waldron said. “So there’s a combination of things over the past year that are having people exposed to pollen for much longer than they used to.”
Boulos said the pollen counts this year have been “severely high.”