Greenfield allergist records his highest pollen count in 23 years

Posted at 6:38 PM, May 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-18 23:03:37-04

Stock up on tissues, allergy sufferers. This weekend could cause flare-ups like you've never seen.

Pollen has been a pest so far this spring and the dry weather we've had isn't making the situation any better.

A local allergist said Thursday's pollen count was the highest he's seen in his 23 years of practice. He said trees are to blame.

As late as it may be, Spring is in full bloom. Fields and trees in the Milwaukee area are finally green. The beautiful scenery had James Benton out for a rare lunch at the park.

"Basically I've been staying in the house and keeping the windows closed," he said.

Benton said that's because he's battling unfamiliar symptoms.

"Runny nose, running like crazy," he said.

Benton never knew he had allergies until this week.

"I just have to suffer through it," he said.

It's no wonder to Dr. Gary Steven who climbs a ladder to the top his roof in Greenfield to test for pollen.

"It's a really brutal tree pollen season," Steven said.

It's part his daily routine as an allergist.

"The recommendations are to put it on the top of a two story building," Steven said.

A small metal device helps him catch pollen in the air on a glass slide that sides out for 24 hours. Every day Steven takes the slide into his lab to see the results under a microscope.

"We're seeing a lot of oak pollen," he said.

Dozens of pollen spots can be seen on the slide from Thursday. It was a recount count for Steven at 5,645 grains per cubic meter. To put that into perspective, it's about 900 grains higher than his previous record in 2013.

"It's because of the late spring we had," Steven said. "Since the warm temperatures took so long this year, the early pollinators waited, the middle pollinators waiting and boom they're all pollinating at the same time."

Steven says if you're suffering from the symptoms there is an upside.

"Rather than a two month long pollen season it's going to be more like 3-4 weeks," said Steven.

In the meantime, Steven doesn't suggest staying inside, rather see an allergist for treatment. Although he admits, there isn't much you can do for the symptoms.