Pollen and Molds
- Molds are microscopic fungi; their spores float in the air like pollen.
- Outdoor mold spores begin to appear after a spring thaw and peak in July through October
- There are many molds, the most common being Alternaria and Cladosporium.
- Outdoor molds can be found in soil, leaves on the ground and rotting wood.
- Indoor molds (mildew) may be found in basements, bathrooms, refrigerators, garbage containers, houseplant soil, carpets, upholstery, and even Christmas trees.
Pollen and Mold Counts
- Pollen and mold counts describe the amount of allergens in the air.
- Pollen counts reported to the public are generally taken the proceeding one to three days, and may vary widely from day to day and by method and location of counting.
- Many patients develop symptoms when pollen counts are 20-100 grains per cubic meter, but there are other factors, which will influence symptoms. For example, lower pollen counts can cause symptoms later in the pollen season.
- In general, the usefulness of pollen counts in predicting symptoms is limited.
Limiting Pollen and Mold Exposure
- The indoor air should be kept free from pollens.
- Keep windows closed in the home and care and use air conditioners, which also filter out pollen and mold. Close the outside vent on window-type air conditioners to get the best protection.
- Don't hand clothing outdoors to dry.
- Limit time outdoors between 5 and 10 am and on hot, dry, windy days when the pollen and mold counts are highest.
- Pollen and mold accumulate in the grass and leaves; grass mowing and raking stirs them up into the air.
- Many people get relief from their allergies by vacationing at the shore during the height of their pollen season.
|Trees, e.g., birch, elm, oak
||March to April or May
|Grasses, e.g., bluegrass, orchard, fescue
||May until mid-July
|Ragweed and other weeds, e.g., cocklebur, plantain
||Late summer and early fall
Some pollens can be found in almost all states while others are found only in certain regions of the country. Moving may temporarily improve allergy symptoms if the pollens are different in the new location, but many people who move will develop allergies to the new pollens within one to two years.
Reviewed: Paulette Taylor, RN, CPN, AE-C
Date: February 2009