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Publication: I'm Not Martha
Pollen and Allergies

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         I'M NOT MARTHA - Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Help yourself to some great self-help videos on: EVTV1.com

Hi! I'm Lizzy!!  and I'm not Martha!!!

If you are one of the 26.1 million Americans suffering from 
allergies then we have something more in common.  I am a bit 
of a mess.  This year is a pistol! And today is a killer. I 
am dripping, itching, and sneezing like mad.  I have read a 
number of articles that said that the number of allergy 
sufferers is higher this year.  People that have never had 
trouble are sniffing and sneezing.

If you live in Ohio especially Akron, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, 
or Mansfield you are having a really bad day!  But if you 
are in Wichita, Dodge City, or Tulsa  you have the lowest 
pollen counts in the USA today.  I checked.

*Histamine is the culprit for watery eyes, runny nose, 
sneezing, and itching. That is why the most common type of 
over-the-counter allergy remedy contains an antihistamine. 
Antihistamines prevent histamines from causing symptoms.

P.S. If you're interested we now have a forum. You can post 
comments on this and recent issues at... Not Martha forum

*What is pollen?

Plants produce microscopic round or oval pollen grains to 
reproduce. In some species, the plant uses the pollen from 
its own flowers to fertilize itself.

Other types must be cross-pollinated; that is, in order for  
fertilization to take place and seeds to form, pollen must 
be transferred from the flower of one plant to that of 
another plant of the same species. Insects do this job for 
certain flowering plants, while other plants rely on wind 

The types of pollen that most commonly cause allergic re-
actions are produced by the plain-looking plants (trees, 
grasses, and weeds) that do not have showy flowers. These 
plants manufacture small, light, dry pollen granules that 
are custom-made for wind transport.

Samples of ragweed pollen have been collected 400 miles out 
at sea and two miles high in the air. Because airborne 
pollen is carried for long distances, it does little good 
to rid an area of an offending plant--the pollen can drift 
in from many miles away. In addition, most allergenic pollen 
comes from plants that produce it in huge quantities. A 
single ragweed plant can generate a million grains of pollen 
a day.

The chemical makeup of pollen is the basic factor that 
determines whether it is likely to cause hay fever. For 
example, pine tree pollen is produced in large amounts by 
a common tree, which would make it a good candidate for 
causing allergy. The chemical composition of pine pollen, 
however, appears to make it less allergenic than other 
types. Because pine pollen is heavy, it tends to fall 
straight down and does not scatter. Therefore, it rarely 
reaches human noses.

Grasses and trees, too, are important sources of allergenic 
pollens. Although more than 1,000 species of grass grow in 
North America, only a few produce highly allergenic pollen. 
These include timothy grass, Kentucky bluegrass, Johnson 
grass, Bermuda grass, redtop grass, orchard grass, and sweet 
vernal grass. Trees that produce allergenic pollen include 
oak, ash, elm, hickory, pecan, box elder, and mountain cedar.

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*When do plants make pollen?

One of the most obvious features of pollen allergy is its 
seasonal nature--people experience it symptoms only when 
the pollen grains to which they are allergic are in the 
air. Each plant has a pollinating period that is more or 
less the same from year to year.

Exactly when a plant starts to pollinate seems to depend 
on the relative length of night and day--and therefore on 
geographical location--rather than on the weather.

On the other hand, weather conditions during pollination 
can affect the amount of pollen produced and distributed 
in a specific year. Thus, the farther north you go, the 
later the pollinating period and the later the allergy 

Generally tree, grass, and weed seasons are similar every 
year in the same location. However, the intensity can differ 
depending on the current weather, the previous year's 
weather, and other environmental factors. Typically, trees 
pollinate earliest from February to May, grasses follow in 
May to mid-July, and weeds peak from late summer to early 

A pollen count, which is familiar to many people from local 
weather reports, is a measure of how much pollen is in the 
air. This count represents the concentration of all the 
pollen (or of one particular type, like ragweed) in the air 
in a certain area at a specific time. It is expressed in 
grains of pollen per square meter of air collected over 24 

Pollen counts tend to be highest early in the morning on 
warm, dry, breezy days and lowest during chilly, wet periods. 
Although a pollen count is an approximate and fluctuating 
measure, it is useful as a general guide for when it is 
advisable to stay indoors and avoid contact with the pollen.

*Why do pollen and mold counts vary so much from day to day?
Changes in temperature, wind conditions, humidity, or precip-
itation can affect the counts greatly.

*Temperature: A sudden temperature drop lowers the pollen 
count significantly. Certain pollens are seasonal. Trees are 
dominant in the spring, grasses occur in late spring and 
early summer, and weeds grow from late summer until the first 
hard frost.

*Wind: Pollens are small, light, and dry so they are easily 
spread by wind. The distance the pollen travel can depend on 
whether the wind is strong or calm that day.

*Humidity: When the air is humid, pollen becomes damp and 
heavy with moisture keeping it still and on the ground.

*Precipitation: Rains tend to "cleanse" the air of pollen. 
When the pollen is wet, it becomes heavy with moisture 
keeping it on the ground.

*During the peak of the pollen or mold season that affects 
you, try following these guidelines:

Keep windows closed at night.D

Minimize early morning outdoor activity when most pollen is 
released (between 5-10 AM).

Keep your car windows closed when traveling.

Stay indoors when the pollen count is high and on windy days 
when dust and pollen are easily scattered.

Vacation during the peak of pollen season to an area where 
there is less pollen, like the beach.

Take any medications your allergist recommends as prescribed.

Do not rake leaves, mow lawns, or be around freshly cut 
grass. This stirs up pollen and mold.

Do not hang laundry outside to dry. Pollen and mold will 
collect in them.

Keep indoor plants to a minimum and never overwater if 
allergic to mold. Wet soil encourages mold growth.


One recent study found that children who have fevers (of 101 
degrees Fahrenheit) before they reach the age of one tend to 
have a lower likelihood of developing allergies by age seven.

It's just as bad for our dogs and cats, especially those with 
allergies, as it is for humans.

Well....pass me the Kleenex and close the door quickly when 
you come in.  Aaaaaachhhhhooooooo!


Questions...Comments...? email Lizzy

Take a moment to answer GopherCentral's Question of the Week: 

Should the Constitution be amended to allow Arnold Schwarzen-
egger to run for President?

To see more issues like this visit: Not Martha Archives

END OF I'M NOT MARTHA - http://www.gophercentral.com 
Copyright 2007 by NextEra Media. All rights reserved. 

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