News Release

2014's famous 'pollen vortex' didn't happen

Study shows spring pollen season not nearly as bad as reported

Peer-Reviewed Publication

American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology

ATLANTA, GA (November 7, 2014) – Last year's long, harsh winter was brutal, and caused some experts to predict the "polar vortex" would turn into the "pollen vortex," and make allergy sufferers more miserable than ever before. But the "pollen vortex" didn't happen – at least not everywhere.

According to a study presented at the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) Annual Scientific Meeting, the spring pollen count in Ontario, Canada was not higher than usual, and in fact, was down considerably – and far lower than at any other time in the previous 12 years.

"Our results showed the reported pollen burst failed to materialize last spring," said aerobiologist James Anderson, MLT, lead study author. "Specifically, pollen levels of maple, juniper, birch, ash, mulberry and walnut were as much as four to five times lower than the average. The other tree pollen counts were within normal range."

Anderson and his team measured pollen counts in London, Ontario and found that the total tree pollen counts were at historic lows for that region.

"People think every allergy season is the worst," said allergist Stanley Fineman, ACAAI past-president. "We found in Atlanta that the counts were actually higher in 2013 than 2014. But we also found the number of days the counts were very high was greater in 2014. The most important thing in treating pollen allergies is not the counts, so much as how the patient responds to the pollen they're inhaling. Clinically, there is no such thing as a 'pollen vortex.'"

If you suspect you have allergies, or if you think you're sniffing and coughing due to a bad pollen season, consult a board-certified allergist to help determine the cause of your symptoms. Allergists are also the best-equipped to bring your symptoms under control.


For more information about asthma and to locate an allergist in your area, visit The ACAAI Annual Meeting is being held Nov. 6-10 at the Georgia World Congress Convention Center in Atlanta. For more news and research being presented at the meeting, follow the conversation on Twitter #ACAAI. View the latest news online at ACAAI Annual Meeting Press Kit.


The ACAAI is a professional medical organization of more than 6,000 allergists-immunologists and allied health professionals, headquartered in Arlington Heights, Ill. The College fosters a culture of collaboration and congeniality in which its members work together and with others toward the common goals of patient care, education, advocacy and research. ACAAI allergists are board-certified physicians trained to diagnose allergies and asthma, administer immunotherapy, and provide patients with the best treatment outcomes. For more information and to find relief, visit Join us on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.

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