Pollen and Allergies; A Deeper Perspective

Here is tomorrow's forecast for not only the UV Index but Pollen too:

Not much to run home about, but we are seeing tree pollen on the rise. According to the National Allergy Bureau (NAB) and their Pollen and Mold report we are seeing high concentrations of cedar, maple, and pine. Weed pollen is absent and grass/mold is low. This is typical for this time of year as trees start budding early spring, weed pollen through the summer, and grass/mold is expected to pick up in late summer and fall.

What's interesting about the NAB is their pollen rating system. These values were taken from Washington D.C., the closest location to Charlottesville. There are no NAB certified pollen counters in the state of Virginia, and very few in surrounding states.

You need to apply to become a certified pollen counter through the American Academy of Allergy and Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI). It must be that no one from Virginia has applied, or does not feel the need to do so. Their requirements are to analyze pollen a few hours a day for five days a week. I couldn't find any documentation on how much they receive in compensation.

Luckily, we can get information from the Allergy and Asthma Associates of Virginia (based out of Harrisonburg) and the Allergy Partners of Richmond. Why are there no pollen analysts in Charlottesville?

Regardless, we can expect pollen to be as strong as ever since a cold winter has no connection with a good or bad allergy season. Of course more snow means more moisture, and plants may be able to use this to their advantage as they spring from the ground.

According to WebMD, Allergic rhinitis (allergies) affects almost 40% of children and around 20% of adults. Rather than fighting the allergies, the best remedy is prevention before they begin. A nasal spray with corticosteroids is a good place to start, and is suggested to be used starting two weeks before allergies kick in. The last resort if the medicines don't work? An allergy shot. The best advice is to talk to your doctor about what symptoms you have and the best route to take.

Colleen Quigley has a report here with more about the winter's affect on pollen and she spoke with a local allergist about the subject:


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