Pollen is a product made by plants which is commonly used in
the process of reproduction, as plants often use it to fertilize themselves.
The species who do not fertilize themselves commonly indulge in the process of
cross pollination, in which the pollen travels from one plant to the other. The
process of cross pollination is successful mainly due to the work of wind and
insects. Pollination commonly takes place during certain periods of the year. Trees,
grass, weeds and molds all have a dominant type of pollen. Pollen can be
counted by using certain types of collection devices which are located all over
the United States.
A sampler mounted on the rooftop is in charge of collecting particles which then get counted under a microscope. The amount of grains and spores is reported as the number of particles per cubic meter of air. Pollen is different in different geographic location and its amount and type is largely affected by the type of vegetation. The wind lifts the pollen while rains cleanse the air of it. Mold is closely related to precipitation and temperature. Cold weather bears low counts of mold and the count is highest when the decay of vegetation takes place. The most common dry weather spores include epicoccum, alternaria and cladosporium, while the most common types of wet weather spores include basidiospores, ascospores and several others.
Spring and Allergies
When the springtime comes there are a large number of people in the United States who suffer from allergic reactions to pollen and molds. There is also an immense media coverage concerning the pollen counts, because there are approximately 35 million American citizens who suffer from pollen allergies each year. Counts of fungus and mold spores are also carefully monitored 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 the
amount 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 with
small drab flowers and usually no scent whatsoever and those plants usually
rely on the process of cross pollination described above. Weather conditions
largely affect the amount of pollen carried in the air, but when the process of
pollination starts they do not make that much of a difference. Weeds cause most
of the allergic reactions and their process of pollination takes place during
the summer and fall, depending on the species. The most common species of weeds
associated with allergic reactions include ragweed, sagebrush, Russian thistle,
pigweed, plantain, lamb’s quarters and cocklebur. Trees are known for
pollinating in spring and late winter and the ones most commonly associated
with allergic reactions include oak, maple, hickory, elm, elder, box,
cottonwood, cedar, birch and beech. Grasses are known for pollinating during the
summer and late spring and the species which are most commonly responsible for
allergic reactions include sweet vernal grasses, rye, orchard, redtop, Bermuda,
Johnson, timothy and Kentucky bluegrass.
Molds are actually certain types of fungi and their seeds which are called spores are commonly spread by the wind. Allergic reactions triggered by mold commonly take place during the late months of summer. There are a large number of molds but there are only a few of them which are actually associated with allergic reactions and those include aureobasidium, rhizopus, mucor, fusarium, epicoccum, helminthosporium, penicillium, aspergillus, cladosporium and alternaria. Molds are known for being dormant during the winter, which is not the case with pollen.
Allergic reactions triggered by pollen and molds are easily recognized due to certain symptoms such as itchy eyes, watery eyes, swollen eyes, dark circles under the eyes, itchy throat, itchy nose, postnasal drip, coughing, stuffy nose, runny nose and sneezing. Some cases may also involve asthma attacks.
One can reduce the severity of the symptoms associated with allergic reactions, but unfortunately allergies cannot be cured. One needs to limit the outdoor activities for as long as the pollination periods last. It is also a wise idea to always follow the pollen counts, because it can be helpful in limiting the exposure to the harmful allergen. Another good option is to use air conditioning device but only when set on mode called recirculate because that mode is highly efficient in excluding most of the pollen and mold from the air in one’s home. One should avoid spending extended periods of time in all areas characterized by a high concentration of plants which are known for being associated with allergic reactions.
According to numerous statistical facts, the top four pollens responsible for the onset of allergic reactions include nettle, grass, chenopod and ragweed. The top five molds associated with allergic reactions include basidiospores, alternaria, smuts, ascospores and cladosporium.