Friday, April 8, 2011

Spring Allergens Hitting Hard

It's that time of year...when the world falls in love. Oh, no wait; wrong season. It's actually (cough, sniffle, sneeze) Spring Allergen Season and it's hitting hard a little earlier than usual for those of you allergic to seasonal pollen and mold producing flora and fauna.

We've had some much-warmer than normal days in March and April and some much-needed rounds of rain during our Spring temperature roller coaster, and that gave the grass pollen an early start (typically we don't see pollinating grasses like timothy, Bermuda and orchard with higher counts until late Spring). The latest Virginia Adult & Pediatric Allergy & Asthma (VAPA) report has the following allergen update:
Pollen and Mold Counts
Last Updated: 4/7/2011

Tree Pollen
509 High (oak, birch, pine, sweet gum)

Grass Pollen

16 Moderate- EARLY!


1,200 Moderate
Weed Pollen- none

So not only are those of you allergic to the tree pollens listed above dealing with that, you're also having to contend with the grass pollen a little earlier than normal in central Virginia. Recent rains are also enhancing the mold spore production.

Although we'll be a little cooler the next two days, much-warmer-than-normal temperatures and sunshine are expected Sunday and Monday: 80 and 90 degree highs, respectively. Monday's high temperature will be very close to the record high for that date, 92 degrees (1930).

Here's some great FYI from VAPA:
  • Most pollens are emitted between 5-10 AM, so you may find it helpful to delay outdoor activities until late morning.
  • Beware of high mold spore counts after a heavy rain or in the evening.
  • Hot, dry, windy days are the worst for kicking up and spreading allergens! Stay indoors if you can.
  • Don't hang your laundry out to dry, as allergens will attach to your "fresh" laundry.
  • Wear a filter mask when you garden, mow the grass, or rake leaves.
  • As tempting as it is to open the windows and let in the fresh air, you're also letting in all those allergens into your home. Keep the windows closed during high pollen count days and run the AC if you can. And replace those air filters on time! Apply this same principle to your vehicles, as well.
Typical early Spring allergens include: oak, cedar, elm, maple, and hickory trees. Typical late Spring allergens include: pollinating grasses like timothy, Bermuda and orchard.