Pollens are tiny grains released from flowering plants, which are carried by the wind or insects and serve to cross-pollinate other plants of the same type for reproductive purposes. Pollens that are spread by the wind are usually the main cause of seasonal allergies, while pollens that rely on insects to be carried to other plants do not. Most plants with bright, vibrant flowers are insect-pollinated and do not generally cause seasonal allergies since the pollen is not usually present in the air.
Pollen can travel long distances and the levels in the air can vary from day to day. The pollen level can be quite different in various areas of a particular city or region. Levels of pollen tend to be highest from early morning to mid-morning, from 5AM to 10AM.
- Ragweed and other weeds are some of the most prolific producers of pollen allergens.
- Pollen counts are highest between 5 - 10 AM and on dry, hot and windy days.
- As with tree pollen, grass pollen is regional as well as seasonal.
- Grass pollen levels can be affected by temperature, time of day and rain.
- Keeping grass cut short helps to keep down on pollen levels.
- Avoid the outdoors between 5-10 AM. Save outside activities for late afternoon or after a heavy rain, when pollen levels are lower.
Trees are the earliest pollen producers, releasing their pollen as early as January in the Southern states and as late as May or June in the Northern states. Trees can aggravate your allergy whether or not they are on your property, since trees release large amounts of pollen that can be distributed miles away from the original source. Of the 50,000 different kinds of trees, less than 100 have been shown to cause allergies. Most allergies are specific to one type of tree such as:
If you buy trees for your yard, look for species that do not aggravate allergies such as crape myrtle, dogwood, fig, fir, palm, pear, plum, redbud and redwood trees or the female cultivars of ash, box elder, cottonwood, maple, palm, poplar or willow trees.