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Yep, This Extended Heat Is Wreaking Havoc On Our Allergies, Too

By Stephen Gossett in News on Sep 22, 2017 5:55PM

Photo: Chris Hondros

We hope you're enjoying this curious summertime extension in Chicago, with its bizarrely beach-y temperatures (although be careful, this record heat is no joke). But aside from folks who already packed away their summer tees, one group of folks who are likely none too thrilled with the heat blast are of course seasonal allergy sufferers.

The ongoing humidity means mold counts are up in the Chicago area. They're currently at a high concentration and were yesterday as well, according to the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology. The ongoing warmth means a further delay of the first frost—which makes for a prolonged period of ragweed and pollen exposure.

It's like the bad bookend to the early spring we got several months ago, when prolonged warm temperatures in February led to a longer pollen season.

Experts at medical facilities are noticing that this season continues to be rough one for sufferers. "People are coming in with some bad allergies, yes, and with a lot more symptoms," Dr. Christopher Codispoti, and Allergy and Immunology specialist at Rush University Medical Center, told Chicagoist. "They're saying, 'Something's different this time.'"

While this nearly unprecedented fall heat wave—now with three consecutive 90-degree days—is certainly anomalous, at least one portion of the extended allergy season fit a larger pattern: there's been a trend of prolonged ragweed since at least 2012, Codispoti said. Although the count was already high in June, as opposed to mid-August, when it usually first spikes.

Conditions will improve in time, especially for ragweed, once a chill finally arrives. "But the first frost has been moving later and later," Codispoti said. And how.