It's almost allergy season in South Jersey, and experts are predicting this one will be rough.

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With all of the focus on avoiding COVID-19 and getting vaccinated from coronavirus, I hadn't even though that allergy season is on the horizon. I've been so glad I managed to avoid coming down with the flu and received my first COVID vaccine dose that I've been a little distracted.

While meteorologists and allergy experts at Accuweather forecast a fairly normal tree pollen season for spring, those of us who suffer from grass and weed allergies will have it particularly bad.

According to Accuweather, those with oak, maple, birch, elm, sycamore and hickory tree allergies in the mid-Atlantic will want to be on guard mid-March through April. Reportedly, the pollen grains we'll see building up will be too big to be the cause of our allergy symptoms, but a pretty accurate sign that dreaded allergy-causing pollen is in the air.

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In terms of grass-allergy sufferers, New Jersey is projected to be well above-average this June and July. The Garden State will have some of the highest grass pollen counts in the U.S. this year, according to Accuweather Senior Meteorologist Alan Reppert.

Predictions for weed pollen in South Jersey are above-average for the month of August, maybe even into September, leading to a slight overlap with grass pollen for a double whammy! Yippy!

And then there's the complexity of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, reports

On top of a harsh season expected for some regions of the country with overlapping pollen seasons, COVID-19 adds another layer of complexity, Tversky said. Seasonal allergy symptoms can get complicated, especially where their symptoms appear similar to the new coronavirus.

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Jody Tversky, an assistant professor and former clinical director of the Division of Allergy and Clinical Immunology at Johns Hopkins University tells, “Some of the symptoms that are associated with COVID-19 infection include congestion, stuffy nose, feeling a little bit unwell -- even loss of sense of smell for some patients." Those symptoms, Tversky says, make it hard for people affected by seasonal allergies to tell which is which.

Hang in there, South Jersey! Check with your physician about protection from allergies and how to minimize the symptoms, and stock up on those antihistamines.

Read Accuweather's complete spring 2021 allergy outlook here.


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