Tis the season

 

The springtime season is here, with its changing weather, blooming flowers, leafing out trees, and just getting out.  Unfortunately, it is also a season for sneezing, sniffling, itching, watery eyes, and even rashes and emphysema in many people.  In springtime, most of these allergic reactions or “hay fever” is due to pollens in plants and especially trees.

Pollen is small, almost microscopic, powdery substances that are very crucial in the plant’s reproductive process.  It is the substance that contains the genetic cells that contain the seed bearing materials necessary for reproduction and plant growth.  However, pollen also contain allergens which are also small substances and are the real villains in this allergic reaction.  These allergens cause the immune system in the body to react and create defensive symptoms called allergies. In the reproductive process, pollen from the male flower anthers to the female part or stigma.

In the plant’s reproductive process, pollen from the male flower’s anthers are transported or sent to the female part or stigma. This procedure is called pollination and is carried out in two ways – airborne and insect borne.  Insect borne pollen is very heavy and sticky, not airborne, and is transferred by the feet of bees, flies, wasps, and other insect pollinators. Trees, however, are plants with small, inconspicuous flowers which are difficult to pollinate.  Their pollen, therefore, has to be spread to a very wide area for germination, so this pollen is light and dusty.  It is airborne and windblown for long distances and can form large clouds coming off trees.

So this basically is the process causing tree allergies (there are also other plants, as well as house dust, mold, pets, etc., that can cause allergies).  These allergies are difficult to control.  Some lesser symptoms can be controlled with over-the-counter medications, such as antihistamines.  If symptoms are severe and persistent, a doctor should be consulted.

Below are some preventative measures around the home that may be helpful in controlling tree allergies:

  • Tree pollen is heaviest in the morning and on windy days, so stay indoors if at all possible during these times.
  • Keep windows in the house closed and use air conditioning.
  • Stay indoors when humidity or pollen count is high.
  • When driving, keep windows up and turn on air condition.
  • Don’t hang out laundry to dry, as allergens may collect on them.
  • Wash bedding weekly in hot water.
  • If outside most of the day, shower and wash hair before going to bed.

These are general suggestions which may help alleviate or give relief from some allergens.  Have an enjoyable and healthy spring.

If you have questions or concerns, feel free to contact the Vermilion Tree Commission by contacting Anne Maiden at the Mayor’s Office at annemaiden@vermilion.net or at 440-204-2402.  You are also cordially invited to attend our monthly Tree Commission meeting which is on the second Wednesday of the month. The Tree Commission will meet at the Ritter Public Library on Wednesday, May 10, 2017, at 7:00 PM

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