Tree, grass and weed 
pollen hit ‘high’ point

If you’re allergic to pollen from trees, grasses and weeds, you probably already know allergy season is ramping up out there.

According to Mesa County’s Airborne Allergen Report, allergens from all three kinds of flora just notched up into the “high” category as of Thursday’s report.

Pollen from oak trees, which in this area means gambel oak and scrub oak, has the highest pollen count among all categories. Pine trees, grasses, and weeds such as plantain, pigweed and desert tea are releasing the next highest amounts of pollen, the report showed.

“Grasses hang on at a moderate level for a fair while all through the summer but weeds are not close to their high point yet,” said Ed Brotsky, air quality specialist with the Mesa County Health Department.

Further aggravating allergy symptoms is the amount of dirt and dust being kicked up by winds, Brotsky said.

Windy weather doesn’t increase pollen counts, but it keeps the allergens from tamping down, he said.

If the blustery weather continues, the health department will issue an air quality report, advising residents to limit physical activity outdoors and to refrain from disturbing the soil. On Thursday afternoon as winds averaged about 24 miles per hour, the amount of coarse particulates in the air tripled compared to earlier in the day, Brotsky said.

Winds of up to 15 miles per hour are expected today and Saturday, according to the National Weather Service in Grand Junction.

That would be a relief from the persistent wind storm last Memorial Day weekend, which threatened to ruin holiday plans.

“If we’re seeing particulate pollution go up, that kind of adds to the allergy symptoms,” Brotsky said. “It gets in your eyes and just makes it a little worse.”

Find updates at health.mesacounty.us, under the air quality tab.


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