Spring starts the sneezing season in the Northwest. Here’s why
You can blame the itchy eyes, runny nose, sneezing attacks and wheezy rattle in your lungs on the warm days we’ve been having recently.
More specifically, you can blame the warm weather for a sharp increase in tree pollen, specifically from alder and the cedar/juniper family, especially in north Whatcom County.
The counts increased from 50 pollen particles per cubic meter of air to the 600 range, according to Elkayam.
The count is high in the northern parts of Whatcom County and low in Bellingham, according to the clinic’s pollen graph on its website.
Later in spring, allergies may be triggered by birch pollen, Elkayam said.
“A whole lot of” tree pollen is floating around
Whatcom County isn’t alone.
The tree pollen count was very high in the Seattle area at around 699 pollen particles per cubic meter of air, according to the Northwest Asthma & Allergy Center.
How is the pollen released into the world around you? Look no further than the catkins dangling from the trees. They’re just waiting for a breeze to release the pollen from the catkins.
“Each of those can release thousands of pollen grains per day,” Elkayam said. “There’s a whole lot of this stuff floating around in the air.”
Meanwhile, the pollen count from grass, weeds and outdoor mold are so low as to be non-exsistent in Bellingham and Whatcom County.
Allergies bothering you?
For most people, symptoms can be alleviated with over-the-counter medication such as Flonase, Nasacort and Rhinocort, as well as Claritin, Zyrtec and Allegra, according to Elkayam.
For some, allergy to tree pollen might trigger sports asthma. If you find yourself coughing for 10 to 30 minutes after running a few miles, you might have it and need an inhaler to relieve your bronchial spasms, according to Elkayam.