It’s that dreaded time of year where it seems as if everywhere you turn everything is covered in pollen. Trees, cars, windows, and even furry pets all retain the villainous yellow powder that wrecks your sinuses. In case you’re wondering, there’s a lot more to pollen than ruining human’s lives. Enlighten yourself below!
What Is Pollen
This section could also be labeled “things everyone learned in elementary school science class but forgot”. Pollen is the yellow, powdery substance that contains microscopic plant grains. It comes from trees, grasses and weeds, and is spread by the wind, insects, and other animals. The process of pollen transferring from one plant to another is called pollination. Unless you have a pollen allergy, or “hay fever”, pollen is usually harmless. However, if you do have an affliction to pollen, breathing in the outdoor air during the spring is like a death sentence.
Why It’s So Irritating
A lot of people become irritated by pollen this time of year, with symptoms like itchy eyes, scratchy throats, and uncontrollable sneezing. Roughly 20% of Americans are allergic to pollen, but a lot more of the population feels it’s affect. This is because our immune systems mistake the pollen constantly entering our system through the air for invading germs. A chemical called histamine is released when pollen triggers your immune system, and your brain is automatically alerted to sneeze as an attempt to get the pollen out. It’s a vicious cycle, because if there’s pollen in the every breath you take, you’ll keep sneezing until you get out of that area. Keep your pollen irritation down by avoiding areas highly concentrated in pollen and finding out what types of pollen you’re allergic to. That way you can get rid of those sources of pollen around you. The top offenders are ragweed, lamb’s quarters, Russian thistle, and redroot pigweed.
How Pollen Count is Measured
If you’re reading this article, there’s a good chance pollen has impacted your life at one point or another. There’s also a good chance you pay attention to pollen counts. Do you know how those counts are measured? To figure out the pollen count, the 24 hour grain total per cubic meter of air is measured. Instead of looking to the sky and counting individual pollen particles, there’s a rod with an extremely sticky substance that collects pollen, and from that it can be estimated the true pollen count. Get more details on the pollen count from Alex Wallace and Dr. Erika Navarro here:
Pollen is a nuisance, but it’s essential to plant life! How do you feel about it? Does it bother you during the springtime? Let us know in the comments below!