Pollen is a product made by plants which is commonly used inthe process of reproduction, as plants often use it to fertilize themselves.The species who do not fertilize themselves commonly indulge in the process ofcross pollination, in which the pollen travels from one plant to the other. Theprocess of cross pollination is successful mainly due to the work of wind andinsects. Pollination commonly takes place during certain periods of the year. Trees,grass, weeds and molds all have a dominant type of pollen. Pollen can becounted by using certain types of collection devices which are located all overthe United States.
A sampler mounted on the rooftop is in charge of collectingparticles which then get counted under a microscope. The amount of grainsand spores is reported as the number of particles per cubic meter of air. Pollenis different in different geographic location and its amount and type islargely affected by the type of vegetation. The wind lifts the pollen whilerains cleanse the air of it. Mold is closely related to precipitation andtemperature. Cold weather bears low counts of mold and the count is highestwhen the decay of vegetation takes place. The most common dry weather sporesinclude epicoccum, alternaria and cladosporium, while the most common types ofwet weather spores include basidiospores, ascospores and several others.
Spring and Allergies
When the springtime comes there are a large number ofpeople in the United States who suffer from allergic reactions to pollen andmolds. There is also an immense media coverage concerning the pollen counts,because there are approximately 35 million American citizens who suffer frompollen allergies each year. Counts of fungus and mold spores are also carefullymonitored because they also trigger a large number of allergy cases.
Pollen and Mold Count – Why it is Important?
The main importance of the pollen count is that it shows theamount of pollen grain in a certain amount of air during a certain time period.The plants that cause the most cases of allergic reactions are the ones withsmall drab flowers and usually no scent whatsoever and those plants usuallyrely on the process of cross pollination described above. Weather conditionslargely affect the amount of pollen carried in the air, but when the process ofpollination starts they do not make that much of a difference. Weeds cause mostof the allergic reactions and their process of pollination takes place duringthe summer and fall, depending on the species. The most common species of weedsassociated with allergic reactions include ragweed, sagebrush, Russian thistle,pigweed, plantain, lamb’s quarters and cocklebur. Trees are known forpollinating in spring and late winter and the ones most commonly associatedwith allergic reactions include oak, maple, hickory, elm, elder, box,cottonwood, cedar, birch and beech. Grasses are known for pollinating during thesummer and late spring and the species which are most commonly responsible forallergic reactions include sweet vernal grasses, rye, orchard, redtop, Bermuda,Johnson, timothy and Kentucky bluegrass.
Molds are actually certain types offungi and their seeds which are called spores are commonly spread by the wind.Allergic reactions triggered by mold commonly take place during the late monthsof summer. There are a large number of molds but there are only a few of themwhich are actually associated with allergic reactions and those includeaureobasidium, rhizopus, mucor, fusarium, epicoccum, helminthosporium,penicillium, aspergillus, cladosporium and alternaria. Molds are known forbeing dormant during the winter, which is not the case with pollen.
Allergic reactions triggered by pollen and molds are easilyrecognized due to certain symptoms such as itchy eyes, watery eyes, swolleneyes, dark circles under the eyes, itchy throat, itchy nose, postnasal drip,coughing, stuffy nose, runny nose and sneezing. Some cases may also involveasthma attacks.
One can reduce the severity of the symptoms associated withallergic reactions, but unfortunately allergies cannot be cured. One needs tolimit the outdoor activities for as long as the pollination periods last. It isalso a wise idea to always follow the pollen counts, because it can be helpfulin limiting the exposure to the harmful allergen. Another good option is touse air conditioning device but only when set on mode called recirculate becausethat mode is highly efficient in excluding most of the pollen and mold from theair in one’s home. One should avoid spending extended periods of time in allareas characterized by a high concentration of plants which are known for beingassociated with allergic reactions.
According to numerous statistical facts, the top fourpollens responsible for the onset of allergic reactions include nettle, grass,chenopod and ragweed. The top five molds associated with allergic reactionsinclude basidiospores, alternaria, smuts, ascospores and cladosporium.