What is the pollen count in Houston today?
The pollen count in Houston today depends on the type of pollen. The main sources of pollen are dust and dander, grass pollen, trees, weed, and mould.
IQAir provides a pollen guide that explains how different types of pollen affect allergy sufferers and how to protect yourself effectively from pollen and allergies. You can also check the current and forecasted air quality index (AQI) for Houston on IQAir, which shows the levels of PM2.5 and other pollutants in the air.
IQAir places each type of pollen in a category that can range from zero to four, where zero means no pollen and four means very high pollen. The higher numbers indicate worsening pollen levels. This information is updated on a regular basis so it is worth checking the levels before any specific activity.
Why does the pollen count in Houston vary throughout the year?
The pollen count in Houston varies throughout the year because different types of plants release pollen at different times of the year. Spring is the start of the allergy season in Houston, which usually begins in late February or March and peaks in April and May. The main sources of pollen in spring are trees such as oak, ash, elm, and pecan. In summer, grass pollen is the primary cause of allergies, which reaches its height in April before subsiding during most of the summer. In autumn, weed pollen such as ragweed can trigger allergic reactions, especially in September and October. In winter, pollen levels are much lower, but indoor allergens such as dust mites and mold can still cause symptoms. However, winter is also the time when cedar fever allergies peak, which are caused by the pollen from mountain cedar trees that grow in Central Texas and are carried by the wind to Houston. Cedar fever can cause severe symptoms such as sneezing, congestion, itchy eyes, and fatigue. Therefore, the pollen count in Houston varies throughout the year depending on the type and source of pollen.
Are there any measures taken in Houston to control pollen levels?
There are some measures taken in Houston to control pollen levels, but they are mostly focused on monitoring and reporting rather than reducing or eliminating the sources of pollen. The local health department reports that they operate a pollen and mold count AAAAI-certified station that uses an instrument called the Burkard Spore Trap to measure air samples and provide a daily report and recorded message for the pollen and mold spore count within the area.
The station reports all major types of pollen and mold spore irritants, such as trees, weeds, grasses, and molds, and places them in categories of low, medium, heavy, or extremely heavy based on the number of grains per cubic meter of air. The station also provides a weekend forecast for the pollen count in Houston and mold levels. The purpose of this service is to inform the public and health professionals about the current and expected levels of allergens in the air so that they can take preventive measures or receive treatment if needed. However, this service does not directly control or reduce the sources of pollen or mold in the area. To do that, it would require more coordinated efforts from various stakeholders, such as city planners, landscapers, gardeners, farmers, and residents, to limit or replace the plants that produce high amounts of pollen, especially during peak seasons. It would also require more awareness and education among the public about the causes and effects of pollen allergies and how to avoid or manage them.
What are the most common allergenic plants that contribute to the pollen count in Houston?
Some of the most common allergenic plants that contribute to the pollen count in Houston are Ragweed, which is a weed that grows everywhere and may be the most common allergy trigger in North America. Its pollen season lasts from August to November, and it can be worse on hot, dry windy days. It can cause symptoms such as sneezing, congestion, itchy eyes, and fatigue.
Another major source of pollen is grass, whose levels are highest during the months of March through to July. Grass pollen is the primary cause of allergies in summer and can cause similar symptoms as ragweed. Some of the common types of grasses that produce pollen in Houston are Bermuda, Johnson, and Timothy.
Oak trees grow all over the country and produce high levels of pollen in the spring. Many people are allergic to oak pollen, and because the trees are common in residential areas and parks, there can be a lot of it floating around in the air. It can cause symptoms such as itchy and watery eyes, sneezing, coughing, and a runny nose.
Cedar is a type of evergreen tree or shrub that includes juniper and cypress. There are about 70 different types of cedar, and some of them cause major allergy issues. Cedar pollen causes problems in winter for many people, especially those who suffer from cedar fever. This fever can cause severe symptoms such as fever, headache, sore throat, and aching muscles.
These are just some of the most prolific allergenic plants that add to the pollen count in Houston, but there are others as well, such as elm, birch, poplar, walnut, mould, and dust.
How can I reduce my exposure to pollen in Houston?
There are some ways to reduce your exposure to pollen, especially if you know what types of pollen you are allergic to and when they are most prevalent. If high pollen counts are forecasted, start taking allergy medications before your symptoms start. You can also avoid outdoor activity in the early afternoon when pollen counts are highest.
Staying inside when possible, on dry, windy days, or when the pollen count is high can help reduce exposure to high pollen counts. Keep windows and outside doors closed during the pollen season, especially during the daytime. Use air conditioning with HEPA filters, if possible, to filter outside air before it enters the building.
If you have to go outside, wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from pollen. You can also wear a mask or a scarf to cover your nose and mouth. Avoid mowing the lawn or being near freshly cut grass. If you do cut the grass, wear a mask and goggles. Shower and change your clothes after being outdoors to remove any pollen that may have stuck to you.
These are just a few ways to reduce exposure to pollen, but they will not eradicate it completely. You may still need to take allergy medications or see an allergist for more treatment options.