Jack Simpson: Pollen count has us under attack

Jack Simpson

Jack Simpson

It's the talk of the town. All of this pollen from birch, oak, pine and mulberry trees giving allergy sufferers a fit. Records are being broken by pollen levels at 4,379 and 9,369. This forces people indoors.

If you have to go outside, it will not be very long before you begin coughing, sneezing or drying your eyes. Everywhere is yellow dust, particularly evident on family cars.

No doubt about it. It is a mess out there and we cannot seem to get a good rain to help clear the air. Those so-called scattered showers recently predicted have not reached my area yet so there is no relief.

Some of our native Americans have faced rain shortages in the past. They have engaged in pageantry in full regalia to perform rain dances hoping for enough rain to save their crops.

Since we do not seem to have this option, we can only pray for relief trusting that sooner or later a shower will come along and some pollen will wash away. "How long must we wait." If only we knew.

I suppose things at your house are about the same as they are around here. We keep the garden hose hooked up and available near the driveway because each time we take out a vehicle for work or shopping, it has to be washed clean of pollen. This stuff covers the windows.

What we are seeing is pollen transferring from the plant anther to the stigma. Some pollen grains live longer than others. Pollen from grasses live one or two days. Some pollen is blown in the wind. Some plants depend on insects and birds to carry pollen from one flower to another. It is the wind that pollinates most of our trees and shrubs. Pollen may be carried many miles by the wind, sometimes even 100 miles away.

Wind-blown pollen is what most of us find irritating our throats and eyes. These tiny specks have definite shapes even if they all cannot be seen by the unaided eye.

As we wait for relief, join me in taking your allergy medicine, wiping your nose and eyes, sucking on your cough drop or sneezing your way through each day. Stock up on Kleenex and "brace for another attack. It's looking like hell ... carry on, carry on."

Jack Simpson is a former educator, veteran, author, and a law enforcement officer. His column appears each Friday.