Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

Second round of high pollen counts kicking up allergies

Tucsonans are getting a noseful of plant parts as a second round of high pollen counts has hit the Old Pueblo.

Mark Sneller, owner of Aero Allergen Research and the sole pollen counter in Pima County, said the pollen counts dropped to 192 pollen grains per cubic meter of air last Friday after being in the 300s earlier in March.

But the count jumped back up to 359 Wednesday after winds blew through the area, he said.

Sneller also said that while some pollen generators such as mulberry, juniper and ash are fading away, others are just starting to bloom.

“Olive is going strong, along with ragweed and grass,” he said. “It will be quite a trying time for the next few days.”

On the Northwest Side, where there is an abundance of paloverde trees, residents may also be suffering because the trees are blooming with a vengeance.

Dr. Martin Bartels, a Tucson allergist, said he has seen an increase in the number of patients coming in to complain of allergy symptoms.

“We’re just coming into the midst of it,” Bartels said. “Patients really do need to get ready.”

He said that the allergy season appears to be lasting longer each year and that wind aggravates symptoms, especially in those who are already asthmatic or have respiratory problems.

“You probably want to be seen before you become miserable,” Bartels advised. “The better way here is to be proactive and work on prevention and you will end up on less medication in the long run. You will feel better and miss less days of work.”

The worst may be yet to come.

During the last week of April in 2008, Sneller counted 700 pollen grains per cubic meter of air. During that week the temperature was in the 90s and mesquite, palo verde, olive and ragweed caused the most problems.

“I would take off your shoes before entering your house,” Sneller said then. “Most of that stuff gets in the house by being tracked in.”


On the Web

University of Arizona pollen calendar


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