This is usually the time of year when hayfever sufferers are sneezing, coughing and rubbing their eyes. But so far, hayfever season has been basically non-existent in New Jersey

That’s about to change.

According to Dr. Leonard Bielory, an allergy expert and professor at the Hackensack Meriden School of Medicine, hayfever season usually begins around the middle of August but this year “it actually has been delayed because of the drought and extremely high temperatures, which actually has stunted the release of ragweed pollen.”

He said the release of ragweed was put on hold by Mother Nature but with the rain we had a few days ago, “it really has provided a return to life for the ragweed plant and one can expect extremely high counts to increase over the next week.”

When will allergy season begin in NJ?

Bielory said during his morning hikes over the past few days he has observed multiple ragweed plants just starting to open up.

He explained once ragweed pollen is released, people who are sensitive to it will start developing itchy, tearing eyes or sneezing and a runny nose.

“You will start getting twitchy in your nose and that will increase over 72 hours as the pollen count starts to rise.”

He said the upcoming hayfever season could be bad for people who have asthma.

“They may develop a chronic cough from either the post nasal drip or actual airway inflammation where they start to wheeze.”

He noted if the wheezing gets bad enough someone with asthma may wind up in the ER.

Young handsome man with beard sneezing, studio portrait
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How long will the hayfever season turn out to be?

Bielory said with even minimal rainfall this year’s hayfever season could be quite intense.

“Instead of being 10 weeks long it’s going to be 8 weeks long, releasing about the same amount of pollen, so we can get some really high spikes,” he said.

David Matthau is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at

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