Pollen Playing Rough With Many
Thursday’s rain may have given allergy sufferers a brief respite, but according to one local doctor, the reprieve will be brief.
“This year it’s really bad,” said Dr. Diane Laber, with Allergy Partners of Pinehurst. “There is a ton of pollen out there right now.”
One in four Americans suffers from allergies, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA).
And while the rain may have washed away the ugly yellow/green pine pollen that coated Moore County, the bad pollens, according to Laber, are oak and grass varieties.
“People think it’s pine because it’s so noticeable, but it is really just a nuisance,” she said.
Pine pollen typically does not cause allergies and is usually considered to be a nonallergenic plant, according to the Web site pollen.com. Pine trees, the site says, produce enormous amounts of pollen, covering surfaces with the yellow dust, but it generally doesn’t cause allergic symptoms.
According to pollen.com, the pollen count in Moore County is currently very high and is expected to remain so for the forseeable future.
The active or trouble pollens right now, according to the site, are oak, birch, cedar and juniper. Over the previous 30 days, the allergy and hay fever index in Moore County has been high 28 of those days.
The AAFA divides allergies into several categories: indoor/outdoor, skin, food and drug, latex, insect and eye allergies. Indoor/outdoor allergies are the most common, affecting more than 40 million people. Tree pollen and grasses are among the more common outdoor allergens.
Laber said she has heard the amount of pollen this year is twice what it has been in previous years. She attributed the high pollen counts to the favorable weather conditions this spring.
“The warm, dry weather we’ve had means lots of pollen,” she said.
The high pollen counts have sent plenty of people scurrying for relief from sneezing, itchy watery eyes, runny nose, scratchy throat, wheezing and other allergy symptoms. Laber said her office has seen an increase in patients suffering from allergy symptoms.
“People tend not to come in when their symptoms don’t bother them,” she said. “We see a huge increase in patients when pollen levels go up.”
She advises that the best way to deal with the situation is to keep home and car windows closed — even when the weather is nice — and making sure to wear a mask when outside cutting the grass or working in the yard.
Laber added, “After the first rain it will calm down a bit, but I think the grass pollen is already out there, so it will be a short break.”
Contact Tom Embrey by e-mail at email@example.com.
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