Air Quality: Pollen
Images: UNC CEHS COEC
Big Idea: Pollen is a significant asthma trigger and different types of the year have higher pollen levels.
- The seventh and final environmental asthma trigger discussed is pollen. Many of us dread seeing that yellow film of pollen covering our cars in the spring. It marks the beginning of uncomfortable allergic reactions for millions of people.
- As many as 20 million adults and 6 million children have allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever, which is caused by an allergic reaction to pollen. For people with asthma, these allergic reactions can lead to asthma attacks.
- As shown in these images, certain times of the year have higher pollen levels. A 2016 study found that in North Carolina, peak season for grass and weed pollen is starting earlier and lasting longer.
American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI), “Outdoor Allergens”
Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, “Pollen Allergy”
Fuhrmann, Sugg, and Konrad, “Airborne pollen characteristics and the influence of temperature and precipitation in Raleigh, North Carolina, USA (1999–2012),” 2016