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The Asthma Center in The Bucks County Courier Times: “Tree pollen counts unusually high in Bucks, Montgomery counties”
April 17, 2017
As published in The Bucks County Courier Times by Peg Quann
Bucks County – Feeling like Snow White’s friend Sneezy this spring? The reason could be in the air.
Tree pollen is everywhere.
While the cold weather this March might have nipped some plants in the bud, trees are now in full bloom — especially oak and pine trees, which are releasing spores unusually early this year. The spores cause itchy eyes, sneezing, coughing and wheezing in people allergic to them.
“Oak is the predominant hardwood tree species in the Philadelphia and South Jersey area, and a single medium to large oak tree can produce several million pollen grains. When you consider how tiny each pollen grain is (2,438 micrometers), that’s a lot of tree pollen,” said Dr. Donald Dvorin of The Asthma Center, with nine offices in the Philadelphia area, including Middletown and Mount Laurel, New Jersey.
On Wednesday, he counted nearly 950 grains of tree pollen in an air sample over 24 hours, a very high count. If the number had topped 1,000, it would have been considered extreme, he said.
Dvorin said in a blog on the center’s website, asthmacenter.com, that the very high level of oak tree pollen is occurring approximately one week to 10 days earlier than last spring, while the very high level of pine tree pollen is several weeks early.
He also noted high levels of pollen from walnut, birch, mulberry, juniper and sycamore trees and even pollen from the hackberry tree, which is a rare sighting.
Mold spores are also high, though grasses and ragweed are not, he added.
The Asthma Center is certified by the National Allergy Bureau as a pollen counter.
The National Weather Service in Mount Holly does not keep track of pollen, but meterologist Lance Franck said the remainder of April should have near normal temperatures, averaging in the 60s but above average precipitation.
May, though, will be another story. The showery April will lead to a hotter and drier than normal month, according to the long-range weather predictions, Franck said.
allergen(s):Pollen, Ragweed & Mold Spore Counts will Return in the Spring of 2018