Pollen Count More Than Nuisance

By: Jessica Dealy Email
By: Jessica Dealy Email

Many people call it the unpleasant side of spring. The pollen collecting on vehicles resembles a yellow winter snow.

A select few are unaffected by spring allergies. Elana Grady, a grandmother, refuses to let the pollen keep her indoors.

"They love the outdoors and so do I, so we are willing to deal with it because it is beautiful out," said Grady, who enjoyed the day with her grandchildren. "It doesn't affect anything, for me, anyway."

The warmer temperatures and blooming flowers are hard to resist, but many people can't fully enjoy them without suffering a sinus attack.

Some say they feel like this is the worst spring allergy season they've ever seen. However, the amount of pollen seen this spring is no different than any other; it is just made more noticeable by the prolonged winter freezes and the lack of cleansing April showers.

"We really need some rain. The pine pollen comes from the male trees. The catkins give out the powder and we just really need some rain to get rid of it," said Greg Chatham of the Mississippi Forestry Commission.

Catkins are found in all the pine trees growing in the southeast and produce the yellow dust we are all seeing. However, pine pollen is not the only allergen blowing in the wind.

"Over 80% of the county is timber," said Chatham. "Of that, 40% to 50% is pine. But a lot of people are bothered by the hardwood allergies as well. As soon as we get a little rain it should ease up on people."

Allergists say that shutting windows, removing carpeted rugs, and purchasing hypoallergenic mattress covers and air filters are good measures to take for anyone suffering from allergies.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases says 35 million people in the U.S. suffer from pollen allergies. That's 13 percent of the population.


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