Why are allergies so bad in Memphis this year?

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — It’s something so many of us go through together.

As we transition from winter to spring, sneezing, coughing and watery eyes become an all-too-common experience for allergy sufferers.

Spring in the Mid-South is a beautiful time of year. But, for some people, it’s also the most miserable.

“The regular runny nose, nasal drip, and itchy throat,” Chris Samsel of Memphis said.

“We’re so blessed to have so many trees, but I have felt like a leaky mess the last two weeks,” Shiloh Grace of Memphis said.

Allergy experts say you can blame oak trees.

As the plants start to bloom, they start spewing tons of pollen into the air.

“If you park your car outside especially, you see almost a greenish sheen on your windshield,” Dr. Beth Choby.

Dr. Choby said the pollen count in Memphis is traditionally high compared to other cities in the United States.

She speculates some of it has to do with location.

“We are right across the river from Arkansas. They do a lot of farming, and the winds across the river probably do carry,” she said.

If your allergies seem worse this year, Dr. Choby said the pandemic might have something to do with that.

“Some of the infections people would get during any normal winter or spring if you’re not out, exposed to many people, you’re not going to get as many of that,” she said.

Dr. Choby said it’s hard to tell how long this season will last, but you should see some relief as the trees finish blooming.

“I figured we’ve been masked up for quite a while. So, we have to acclimate to being out in nature without a mask,” Grace said.

If you are suffering, there are some things you can do that might help.

Dr. Choby said simple things like taking your shoes off and changing your clothes when you come in from outside to avoid tracking pollen in your house, and regular dusting can make a difference.