Pollen counts high around valley

All the pollen in the air have you pulling out the tissues?

An abundance of weeds flowering around the Grand Valley has created a stewing caldron of pollen, the bane of allergy sufferers.

Pollen counts this week measured in the high category for the first time this year, and those are only expected to increase, according to Ed Brotsky, air quality specialist for the Mesa County Health Department.

“Unless we get some rain, it’s going to get a little bit higher,” he said, about pollen counts in the coming weeks.

The most prolific weed offender is one called kochia, a shrubby, fast-growing plant that seems to be ubiquitous around the Grand Valley this time of year. Pollen from kochia accounted for more than two-thirds of all pollen in the air and will continue to be the main offender, he said.

Other weeds including greasewood, Russian thistle and grasses also are blooming, but pollen levels of those weeds are on the decline, Brotsky said.

Pollen levels typically are high this time of year, he said.

As of midweek, pollen counts were 70 to 75 pollen grains per one cubic meter of air, Brotsky said. Pollen is considered high at more than 50 pollen grains per one cubic meter of air.

However, later this month, the number of pollen grains in those samples are expected to hit 100 grains per cubic meter of air as sagebrush also starts to bloom and release pollen, Brotsky said.

“At about the end of August and early September we get into that range,” he said. “Some years obviously it never gets that high. We’re pretty much right on track this year, so who knows?”

For information about pollen and air quality in general, visit the Mesa County Health Department at http://www.health.


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