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Are You Sneezing More This Week? 'Snow Mold' Could Be The Culprit

Originally published March 18, 2022

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Melting snow is uncovering mold that is giving allergy suffers the blues. Snow mold is a lawn disease caused by a fungus that both looks like snow and tends to infect grass. And it gets worse as the snow melts.

The melting snow is behind sneeze attacks and other symptoms connected to allergies.

"It's a very unpleasant thing to go through. It feels very bad, it ruins your quality of life," Hennepin Healthcare allergist Dr. Joshua Dorn said.

From itchy eyes to runny noses, allergy sufferers are struggling with the change of seasons.

"Mold that is under the snow in the winter, when that melts in the spring, it releases spores into air, and for people who are allergic it can cause allergy symptoms such as itchy eyes, runny nose, sneezing, and sometimes asthma symptoms in people who have that," Dorn said.

Snow mold does not even have to be in your yard or close by for it to affect you.

"It releases spores into the air, usually in high enough quantities to travel quite a distance," Dorn said.

Lawns will start greening up as air and soil temperatures continue to rise over the next month. Snow pack is melting quickly in the lower third of the state, including around the Twin Cities.

With warmer temperatures in the forecast, you can expect more melting and more sneezing.

"With allergies this time of year can suffer from molds or sometimes tree pollens which starts very soon when trees start to pollenate in late March and early April," Dorn said.

For the allergy sufferer, there are treatments to help you cope.

"You'll start with allergy pills you get at the store or sometimes nose sprays, and if that's not sufficient sometimes you need more treatment like allergy shots or immune therapy to help you be less allergic to things," Dorn said.

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