Love is in the Air
As temperatures slowly warm, our local trees and plants prepare for their own annual rite of spring: pollination. As part of plants’ reproductive cycle, pollen is used for transferring male genetic material from the plant to the female reproductive structure of the plant. This allows fertilization to take place so the plant can continue to grow. Like all living organisms, seed plants have a single goal: to pass their genetic information on to the next generation.
Pollen is dispersed by insects and wind, with the latter increasing the amount of allergens in the air. Consequently, those who suffer from allergies may have more prevalent symptoms on windy days and those that immediately follow.
As a public service, the Southwest Ohio Air Quality Agency collects, counts, and reports pollen levels from mid-February to mid-November, depending upon the weather. The Agency details which plants and/or trees are producing the highest amount of pollen for that particular 24-hour collection period. Residents may find these daily pollen (and mold) counts on the Agency’s website at SouthwestOhioAir.org, as well as its Facebook and Twitter accounts.
Typically, pollen levels do not become problematic until April or May, when trees such as hickories, pine, oak, and walnuts are peaking in pollen production. Those who are symptomatic may find it helpful to track the pollen count along with their symptoms to provide an idea of which plants they may be allergic to. Residents should consult their health-care professional for advice on how to manage their symptoms.
Written by Anna Kelley, Monitoring and Analysis Supervisor for the Southwest Ohio Air Quality Agency