Has the spring pollen been aggravating your allergies?

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WATERTOWN — It is a beautiful time of year. Trees are blooming and there’s the smell of freshly cut grass in the air. While the vivid colors and return of plant life are a sign that true spring is near and summer is to soon follow, there will be lots of sneezing.

The Weather Channel, which has a 15 day allergy forecast, reports tree pollen is high today in Watertown and will be moderate tomorrow and Thursday. The Weather Channel, which is owned by IBM, uses the Watson computer to predict allergy symptoms based on the weather conditions.

The pollen count is a measure of pollen density in the air. The last update on May 8 revealed 305 grains of pollen per cubic meter of air, you may have seen it on freshly washed cars.

The three worst pollen offenders are tree pollen, grass pollen and ragweed pollen. Grass and ragweed pollen aren’t forecasted in the coming days, but tree pollen is forecasted for halfway between moderate and very high through May 19.

AccuWeather in its forecast says tree pollen is fine and powdery making it easy for the wind to carry it for miles. Today’s wind forecast is north at 8 miles per hour with gusts of 17 miles per hour.

Once you see the yellow/green sheen on cars and outdoor furniture, you know it’s spring.

However, some days are worse than others with the pollen count at an all time high. So how do you survive it all? We’ve got some tips.

What is pollen?

First, let’s go back to the basics.

According to Buzz About Bees, pollen is a fine substance made from seeds and grains. It contains male germ cells that help with the plant fertilization process, allowing plants to reproduce.

How can I see the local pollen count?

The local pollen count can oftentimes be seen on your local weather app, but Pollen.com has a way for you to enter in your ZIP code or city to see the pollen count for your area. The National Allergy Map at pollen.com shows 34% of the country is in medium to high status.

— Currently in Watertown, the count is at a 10 (high) and the top allergens are oak, birch and ash. The count was 9 on Monday and is expected to increase to 10.2 on Wednesday, peaking at 11.1 on Saturday and dropping slightly to 11 on Sunday. The recent low pollen count was 2.5 on April 30.

What are some tips for dealing with pollen?

Tips for handling high pollen days:

— Keep your car and house windows closed.

— Change or clean your air filters regularly.

— Shower before going to bed or when you get home. Pollen can settle into your hair and onto your clothes and skin, so a shower will keep you from breathing in pollen all night.

— Wear sunglasses/glasses to keep pollen out of your eyes.

— Remove shoes upon entering your home.

— Wash off indoor pets’ paws and wipe down their fur with a damp cloth or towel if they’ve been outdoors. Pets can easily track pollen into your home, leaving it on your carpets and furniture.

— Pollen levels tend to be lowest between 4 a.m. and noon. Adjust outdoor activities accordingly.

— Take your allergy medication before going out. Don’t wait until you have symptoms.

— Tribune News Service contributed to this report

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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