Pollens, which cause allergy symptoms in sensitive individuals, are very small proteins derived from plants. Tree, grass or weed pollens are spread by wind. Large flowering plants such as roses are not common causes of allergies, although the scent may be irritating. Insects, not wind, spread pollen from flowering plants. Pollen granules from trees, grasses and weeds may be carried for up to 70 miles from their source of origin. Warm, dry, briskly moving air favors increased pollen levels, which are often highest in the early morning.  Trees and grasses in Minnesota pollinate in the spring, between March and June. Weeds in Minnesota pollinate in the late summer and fall, between August and October.

Measures for controlling pollens include:

  • Keep windows closed and use air conditioning. Make sure to clean and replace air conditioner filters monthly.
  • Use air conditioning in the car instead of driving with the windows open. Remember to change and keep this filter clean as well.
  • Avoid outdoor exercise early in the morning when pollen counts are highest.
  • Dry clothes in a dryer instead of outdoors. Clothes dried outdoors may accumulate pollen on the clothing.
  • Shower nightly or after prolonged outdoor exposure to prevent pollen from getting into bedding.
  • Consider using a mask when working in the yard or garden.

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