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Rising temps push pollen counts higher PDF Print E-mail
Friday, April 05, 2013 11:42 AM

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DELPHOS — Until this past week, pollen levels have remained in the low to low-medium range, hovering from 0-4, affecting extremely sensitive individuals. With the warmer weather forecasted for the weekend, allergy sufferers will feel the affects of escalating pollen levels which are expected to climb into the medium-high (orange) range. Pollen levels between 7.3 and 9.6 tend to affect a large number of individuals who suffer from spring allergies.

Today’s pollen level is expected to reach a med-high of 7.6 and Saturday’s forecast calls for a high around 9.6.

Board Certified Allergist and Immunologist Dr. Syed Rehman explains that the higher pollen counts at this time of the year are attributed to trees budding and blooming. Native trees in this area contributing to rhinitis, inflammation of the mucous membrane of the nose, includes; Maple, Poplar, Aspen, Cottonwood and Birch.

“A lot of people think they have a cold but if they do not have a fever, they should see a doctor who can treat the symptoms,” he said.

An allergy is a heightened sensitivity to a foreign substance (called an allergen) that causes the body’s defense system (the immune system) to overreact when defending itself.

For people with allergies, their immune systems are working too hard and react even when relatively harmless substances, such as pollen, are present.
“Forty million people have rhinitis due to allergies,” Dr. Rehman reported. “Symptoms are nasal drainage, itchy watery eyes and a stuffy nose.”

Pollen levels vary based on location, are directly affected by weather conditions and are measured by the number of grains of pollen in a cubic meter of air. A pollen count is collected by covering a rod with a sticky substance and attaching it to the roof of a building. For 24 hours, the rotating rod will be tested periodically at different times of the day for the amount of pollen adhered to it. Samples are then analyzed microscopically to determine how much pollen is in the air to yield allergy levels.

“Pollen is lightweight. When airborne, it can be blown hundreds of miles from its original location,” Dr. Rehman explained.

Pollen counts are measured from low, meaning they affect few individuals, to high, meaning symptoms affect most allergy sufferers.

“There are precautionary measures people who suffer with allergies can take to decrease their exposure to the allergens,” Dr. Rehman said. “Since spring yields the highest pollen levels, people suffering from allergies should stay inside, particularly in the early mornings, and also use an air conditioner. When coming in from out-of-doors, they should change into fresh clothing and put worn clothing into the wash. This will decrease the scattering of pollen inside or inhaling the pollen stuck on the clothing. In addition, while traveling, people should keep vehicle windows up and use recirculated air, rather than fresh air from outside.”

Warm, dry and windy weather and climates with little or no rain have high pollen levels. Rain or cool weather drastically drops allergy levels. However, many plants pollinate year round so people could experience allergy symptoms year round.

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