Is It Really the Worst Allergy Season Ever This Time?

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If you’re one of the many millions of Americans with seasonal allergies, the last two weeks or so have not been pleasant for you. You’ve probably spent much of your time rubbing your eyes, sneezing, blowing your nose, making empty threats at your nose, contemplating whether life would really be so bad if you just chopped off your nose, Googling information on prosthetic noses, and then taking six Benadryl and passing out for fourteen hours. You’ve also probably complained to disinterested non-allergic friends that this allergy season is especially bad, perhaps even the “worst allergy season ever!” Of course, that’s what people say every year. But could it actually be true this time? Owing to a particularly wet winter and a dry April, New York allergists say that, yes, it could be.


Dr. Boyan Hadjiev, who’s dubbed himself “Dr. Sneeze,” called it “the worst season” he’s seen since he opened his Manhattan practice seven years ago.

We always say this is the worst season we’ve seen,” Dr. Hadjiev admitted. Still, he insisted, “this one tops it.”

Allergists across the city reported a doubling and tripling of patients, exceeding previous records. Clifford Bassett, who practices in Brooklyn and Manhattan, said he’d hired two additional phone operators and another nurse to handle an influx of patients.

If we tabulated our phone records and compared quantitatively to the previous eight or nine years, we’re seeing a volume of at least three to four times greater a day,” said Dr. Bassett, who’s also a spokesman for the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

The experts agree! Your annoying friend who constantly complains about allergies is actually right this time! Then again, the experts can’t exactly be trusted.

New York Sun, May 2008:

New York Post, May 2005:

I’m seeing people who haven’t gone outside in a week, and people who are miserable despite all the usual allergy medications and need cortisone eye drops or pills or both,” says Dr. Gillian Shepherd, an allergy specialist at Manhattan’s Weill Cornell Medical Center.

I haven’t had to prescribe those for the last 15 years.” ….

They are turning to medication, both over-the-counter and prescription.

But this year, specialists say, don’t expect something as simple as a pill to save the day.

Daily News, June 2003:

Dr. David Shulan, an allergist at Albany Medical Center, agreed that pollen counts have been “absolutely horrendous.”

The Star-Ledger, May 2001:

CBS News, May 1998:

Oh, stop pretending, Dr. David Shulan. You love claiming that it’s “the worst season ever.” It’s one of your favorite things.

Sniff, Sneeze, Blow, Wipe, Repeat [WSJ]