Thursday, April 29, 2010


Politics one day and pollen the next, that's pretty good, isn't it?

Feeling stuffed up, sniffly or sneezy?

I would guess about 1/3 of the people I talk to lately are suffering from the same thing I am. Allergies.

It hits me hardest at dinner time. Is that because my body has been fighting it all day and it finally is being overcome fighting the allergic reaction to pollen?

Better learn to deal with it, experts say. (Yeah, I have been dealing with it for nearly 60 years!)Now that winter is behind us, we've reached that time of year that aroused male trees begin to shed their pollen in hopes of birthing more trees.

The spores in the air, meant to inseminate the females, put our immune systems on the defensive. This creates lots of runny noses and general malaise for the 15 percent to 25 percent of the population that suffers from allergies.

Many sites have measured over 1000 grains of tree pollen per cubic meter of air for weeks now, the most severe measurement so far this year has been over 2000, maybe a record?

Allergy season has arrived with a vengeance again this year.

“It's mostly forces of nature. Trees are going to do what they do regardless of what we want,” said Timothy Thorne, a microbiologist with the city of Houston, who monitors pollen levels.
About 1 million trees dot city property with countless more in homes and gardens throughout the city.

Other cities have dealt with pollen problems by replacing male trees with female trees, which don't produce pollen. But many city trees, which include lots of pines and oaks, have both male and female sex organs, meaning there's no easy solution. No different out here in the country, just more trees!

“Move to the Sahara?” quipped city Forester Victor Cordova. “I don't know. No clue.” Pollen has been high on ships in the middle of the ocean!

An extreme solution would be to kill all the trees. But that wouldn't get rid of all the other things that produce allergens, like weeds, grass and mold.

In any event, it might not be fair to denounce trees for your sniffles, said Pete Smith, with the Texas Forest Service.

“People blame the trees because they see them, but the pollen can move for hundreds of miles,” he said. “Can we pave over everything to solve the problem? No.”

Some allergy sufferers, like Adrian Zavala, 31,buy lots of Sudafed and Benadryl this time of year. But many of those products are good sleep aids at night so they make us drowsy! Even Zytec does that to people.

But if your symptoms are minor, suggests Dr. Stuart Abramson, an allergy specialist at Baylor College of Medicine, you can try washing your eyes and nose out with a saline solution several times a day. That helps, I have done that throughout my life.

If allergies really get you down, go see a doctor, Abramson said. I am going tomorrow again. My head feels like a big melon and I don't have my normal energy.

If you look at all the things we are breathing it is no wonder many of us are sniffly sneezy. Hair, grass pollen, algae, mold, dust, it it worse inside most people's houses!

Excuse me while I go blow my nose!

Have a non sneezy day,

Ed Winkle


  1. I used to do a lot of custom brush-hogging and the overgrown pastures were full of blooming weeds taller than the tractor hood. When the tractor hit them, it shook most of the pollen out of them right at face level. A dust mask helped, but not a lot. Goggles, however, made all the difference in the world. I don't know if that information will help anyone or not, but it won't cost much to find out if it works for you!

  2. I can't bush hog weeds that far along Gorges, I would end up in the hospital. I have to catch them before they bloom. Yesterday I sprayed 25 gallons of RoundUp in a generic glyphsate form so you know I mean business early!