Schwartz Explains Why Rain Can Worsen Allergies

Updated April 6, 2021

If you suffer from allergies, the arrival of spring can lead to itchy, watery eyes, sneezing and sniffling. According to doctors, rain can actually make allergies worse. The pollen that’s in the air may cling to rain drops and literally get washed from the air,” says Stanley A. Schwartz, MD, PhD, UB Distinguished Professor of medicine and pediatrics, who is chief of the Division of Allergy, Immunology and Rheumatology. But rain can break up pieces of pollen on the ground, spreading them further. Rain can also indirectly make pollen counts worse by nourishing the plants that release pollen into the air, Schwartz says. “Rain and warm weather all stimulate flowering plants, leading to more luxuriant plant growth,” he notes. “If you have a good warm and wet season, the pollen counts can end up being very high.”