Ah-Choo! Spring allergy season begins with tree pollen


I knew I'd include it in my weather story eventually. The first pollen forecast of the season. It's tree pollen first, then grasses in late spring through the summer. Then, the weeds follow late summer until the first frost. So, if you've had on and off symptoms of sneezing, itchy eyes/nose, stuffiness and you don't have a cold, it's likely that you have a tree pollen allergy. I know personally how it can affect the body.

I found out I was allergic to some tree pollens after going on vacation in April one year. While away, my sinuses were amazingly clear. Upon returning, it was two weeks of symptoms. After not knowing what was going on, I got some allergy testing and found the culprit. Oak pollen. There was a lot of warm air in a short span of time and the oak trees opened up and let go. So, my body reacted to that. Some things I look for to determine how pollens will ebb and flow are 1. How long it stays dry locally and in the eastern U.S. 2. How wind speeds will affect the transport of pollen and how it may agitate pollens on the ground 3. Where the different trees are in their stages of pollination and 4. Where weather systems are coming from or originate. Did you know, you cannot form a tiny cloud droplet and likewise a larger rain drop without condensation nuclei? Yes, you need a speck for the water to condense onto. Pollen, dust, a pollutant etc. So if a storm originates in the south where pollens are high, those countless grains make up the cloud that formed and it's here generally in 1 to 3 days.

Good news! The pollen counts lower on Thursday due to a 'back door' cold front that slides down from northern New England. High pressure will deliver an easterly wind off the Atlantic. This is a better wind direction as there are no trees in the ocean for the wind to transport here. Friday our wind turns southerly again and then westerly on Saturday. So, counts will begin rising again this weekend.

Be ready for an allergy season that ramps up next week. You may begin to feel it. Remember, keeping the pollen outside of the home and especially out of the bedroom helps immensely. Removing the outdoor clothes in a bathroom as opposed to a bedroom, changing the sheets more often, and washing or rinsing pollen grains out of your hair helps. Otherwise, they will sit where you least need them. On your pillow. Keeping windows closed on high pollen days in your home or car is key as well. Have a healthy spring!

Copyright 2016 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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