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The tree-pollen season is off to a robust start, and in addition to being a source of torment for allergy-sufferers, it might produce exactly what the region doesn’t need: More anxiety.

“Obviously, pollen is in the air,” said Dr. Marc F. Goldstein, an allergist at the Asthma Center in Center City. The evidence is in the early budding and blossoming and the patient visits.

And it’s only just begun. “There’s going to be an increase in pollen this month,” he said.

Classic tree-pollen symptoms, especially coughing and staccato sneezing, are difficult to control, but Goldstein said that sufferers need to make the effort, lest people mistake them for coronavirus symptoms.

While allergy-sufferers know the difference between episodic allergic reactions and more-serious illnesses, others might not necessarily know what they know.

“In particular this season it is very important for people to control their symptoms. It’s going to arouse anxiety among other people.”

The pollen season, in which trees sow the seeds for the next generation, typically approaches a crescendo in April and ends in June, when the grasses take over.

This year expect everything to be ahead of schedule after one of the warmest winters on record in Philadelphia and a March in which temperatures have average better than 7 degrees above normal.

Typical tree-pollen allergy symptoms:

  • Repetitive sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Watery, itchy eyes
  • Symptoms are episodic

Coronavirus symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Symptoms can persist several days

Sources: Centers for Disease Control, The Asthma Center