From CNN iReport, the "pollen cloud" that hangs over the Southeast:
Pollen season is unavoidable. Here in central North Carolina, the pollen count at the peak of pollen season is typically no higher than 1,500 grains per cubic meter.
But on Tuesday, the pollen count in Raleigh was 3,524 grains per cubic meter.
And Tuesday in Forsyth County? An astounding 9,632 grains per cubic meter. Yesterday wasn't much better: 9,099 grains per cubic meter.[UPDATE: Today is a little better — 7,237 grains per cubic meter. And with rain coming this evening, it'll be in more normal territory tomorrow. Still, it's been fun to watch all the yellow-dusted cars each day]
The pollen around here is all from trees — none from grass or weeds. In fact, the breakdown (from yesterday) is: 75% oak, 18% pine, 2% birch and 1% or less each of cedar, chestnut, ginkgo, maple, and sweet gum.
The high pollen levels are probably due to several factors.
The weather turned suddenly warm last week after a cold winter and cool early spring, with little rainfall since March 29. In addition to the dry weather, winds have been blowing the pollen around.
The cold winter also could have delayed some trees that normally flower earlier in the spring, so that more different tree species are flowering at the same time.
Tips to Minimize Suffering from Pollen Allergies
- Avoid early morning outdoor activity since this is when most pollen is released into the air.
- Stay indoors when pollen counts are high or on dry breezy days when pollen is easily carried by the wind.
- Keep car windows closed when driving.
- Keep windows in your home closed and use air conditioning to filter indoor air.
- Do not hang sheets or other laundry outside to dry because this will allow pollen to accumulate on the fabric.
- Avoid mowing lawns because it can stir up pollen. If you must mow, wear an air filter mask over your mouth and nose.
- If you do have been outside when pollen levels are bothersome, bath and wash your hair before going to bed to avoid adding pollen to your bed sheets and pillow.
- Remember that pollen can accumulate on pet fur and your own clothing and be carried inside your home. The frequent washing of pets and clothing can help reduce your indoor pollen exposure.
- Discuss your allergy concerns and symptoms with your doctor to learn what medical treatments may be most appropriate for your individual allergy problems.