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NJ.com Interviews Dr. Dvorin: “Pine Barrens revenge: Surge of early pollen hits South Jersey”
April 12, 2017
As published on NJ.com by Kathleen O’Brien
A sudden spike in pine pollen has hit South Jersey early this year, with tracking sites in Mt. Laurel and Philadelphia noting a seven-fold jump in the last few days.
“May is usually our peak for pine,” said allergist Donald Dvorin, who oversees pollen-counting stations in Mt. Laurel and Philadelphia, both within miles of the million-acre Pine Barrens. “This year I even saw it earlier than normal, in March.”
The belief that pine pollen can trigger allergic reactions in people is disputed by some experts, Dvorin said. They argue pine pollen is too big to permeate the nasal membrane. However, Dvorin said researchers have shown that key proteins from pine pollen can penetrate the nasal membrane to trigger a reaction.
In his practice, they include pine pollen in their routine skin tests for allergens.
Pine trees produce pollen in huge amounts. The pollen is large compared to other pollen, and it can spread for hundreds of miles.
Pine trees can release their pollen in such large amounts people see what appears to be smoke coming out of the trees at this time of year, Dvorin said.
“Our cars are definitely covered with it,” he said.
While the Pinelands are to the east of the Philly suburbs, when winds come up from the south, they can push pollen toward that highly populated area – subjecting residents to an allergen not so prominent in other cities, he said.
In the northern part of the state, meanwhile, tree pollen counts have been down, with only a small amount of mold present in the samples gathered at the Springfield office of allergist Leonard Bielory.
allergen(s):Pollen, Ragweed & Mold Spore Counts will Return in the Spring of 2018