Mild winter brings cheers and tears

Surprisingly mild winter weather brought with it the early blooming of trees and flowers — and, with those blooms, allergies.

According to a localized 30-day pollen count history, which is available on, Youngstown’s pollen has, continually increased over the past month. It reached a 9.6 out of 12 on Sunday.

Youngstown State University senior Alyssa Leith said she suffers from seasonal allergies. This year, she began having symptoms at the beginning of March.

If she wants to go outside, Leith said she just has to deal with her allergies.

“I take nasal spray and eye drops with me,” she said.

Leith said she has dealt with allergies for the majority of her life, so she doesn’t visit the doctor often for them. She said she “knows the drill” and takes Singulair, as prescribed by her doctor.

YSU senior Kristen Wermuth also deals with allergies.

“They aren’t too bad yet, but they aren’t easy to keep under control,” she said.

Wermuth said she experiences symptoms like a runny nose and sneezing, but her eyes bother her the most. They become sensitive to the sun, which makes it unpleasant to stay outside for long periods of time.

“I heard before that the pollen count is worse in the morning than later in the day. I’m in school in the morning, so I don’t have to worry too much about my allergies, but if I’m going to do something outdoors, I usually wait until the evening,” she said.

“As with any year, the pollen count goes up as new trees blossom in the spring,” said Craig Ziobert, a senior and an assistant teacher for a weather course at YSU. “This year was no exception, except that the pollen started being noticed in early March instead of April.”

Many parts of the country are already experiencing moderate pollen counts, according to an article by New York Times reporter Anahad O’Connor.

The official counts on are collected with a tool called Rotorod.

Ziobert said warm, dry and breezy conditions cause high pollen counts in the spring. He added that when storm systems move in, the levels decrease and wash away the pollen that collects on different surfaces.