Copyright 2005 David Kane
Spring is in air and so are allergens. Over next few months grasses, trees and weeds will release huge quantities of pollen into air as part of their reproductive cycle. For those suffering from allergic asthma or seasonal allergies it is a time when symptoms worsen, eyes water and noses run.
The most common advice given to those allergic to pollen is to remain indoors when pollen release occurs. However this happens at different times for different plants. On warm and sunny days most grasses release pollen from early morning onwards. On damp mornings release will be delayed until ground moisture evaporates. Some species of grass release their pollen in afternoon, so if you are allergic to several types you may not get a window of avoidance at any time of day.
Even with an allergy to only one type of pollen, it can affect you despite your efforts to avoid time and area where pollen release occurs. As day draws to a close cooling pollen-carrying air falls towards ground. This can lead to sufferers experiencing problems during night. Wind-blown pollen can travel great distances. Ragweed can spread so far that it has even been detected 400 miles out to sea.
If you can identify pollen that triggers your symptoms you can try to plan your day accordingly. You can get a clue from time of year that you experience problems. Tree pollen is usually released in spring, grass pollen in late spring and early summer, and weed pollens in late summer into autumn. A doctor can organise tests to further narrow down culprit. Having identified offending pollen try to remain indoors when it is being released.
Try to keep track of pollen count in your area. Remember pollen count is usually taken day before it is broadcast. Rain or cool weather can reduce count. Hot weather or short thunderstorms can increase it. Plants tend to retain their pollen on cloudy days, so expect a higher than average release on next sunny day.