Northside Allergy Associates Newsletter Fall 2012

Sep 21, 2012

Pollen: The Main Culprit of Seasonal Allergies

Of all the things that can cause an allergy, pollen is one of the most common. Pollen are tiny cells needed to fertilize plants. Plants produce small pollen grains that must be moved from one plant to another of the same kind for fertilization to occur. The pollen that is most likely to cause an allergic reaction are the pollen from weeds, trees, and grasses. Colorful or fragrant flowers rarely cause allergies because their pollens are too heavy to be airborne. They rely on insects to carry their pollen from one plant to another. Weeds, trees, and grasses have pollen grains that are small, light, and dry, which the wind carries easily. Among North American plants, weeds produce the largest amount of allergenic pollen. Some sources of weed pollen in our area include: ragweed, pigweed, nettle, mugwort, lamb's quarter, English plantain, and cocklebur.

Of Americans who are allergic to pollen-producing plants, 75% are allergic to ragweed. Ragweed pollen begins in late August and continues until October or the first frost. A single ragweed plant only lives one season, but that plant produces up to 1 billion pollen grains. Ragweed pollen grains can travel up to 400 miles do to their lightweight texture.