New York City pollen count and allergy info | IQAir (2024)

What is the pollen count in New York City?

Levels of the pollen count fall into five numerical categories ranging from zero to four, where level zero carries minimal risk to allergy sufferers and level number four is high and will affect most people who suffer from allergies and should take precautions accordingly. Each category of the different pollens has its own level displayed on the IQAir website.

The Pollen Count is a quantity of the average number of pollen grains per cubic metre. It is typically recorded during the daytime, so pollen count forecasts will echo daytime figures. The amount of pollen can vary from day to day and can also vary throughout each day. It can be very dependent on weather conditions.

What are the main types of pollen to affect New York City?

The types of pollen that affect New York fall into three main categories which are tree pollen, grass pollen and weed pollen, although each of these can be sub-divided. Due to the certain types of vegetation found within New York City, the top allergens are from grasses, dock and plantain. The size of the pollen grains of dock ranges from 15-35 microns and are pollinated by the wind so can easily spread over long distances.

Does the pollen count in New York City change with the seasons?

The pollen season in New York City lasts mainly from April to August when most types of trees and grasses are in bloom. However, there are some tree species that bloom earlier, such as ash and birch especially if there has been a mild winter. Pollen from elm trees occurs later in the year around late summer to early winter. And as if that wasn't enough, there are also some species that bloom in late summer and into autumn, depending on the weather and temperature. This extends the season - especially for those who are allergic to several types of pollen. New York is a green city with many different types of trees planted in the parks. Tree pollen is most prevalent during Springtime when the trees are starting to come into bud and blossom, while grass pollen is most prevalent during the summer months of June, July and August.

What can be done by allergy sufferers when the pollen count is high in New York City?

Start with allergy tablets (antihistamines) and preventive nasal spray preferably a week before the expected spread. Eye drops can be used once the symptoms occur. The wearing of sunglasses can help with the glare from the sun. Plan your day, go out early in the morning, when it rains or soon after. Then there is less pollen in the air. Pollen sticks to the fur of dogs, cats and other pets. Make sure they are brushed or rinsed after they have been outside. It also sticks to human hair, so rinsing your hair can eliminate excess pollen.

Clothes should not be dried outside, if possible, because pollen sticks to the fibres as they are exposed to the elements. Days need to be planned to be out early in the morning when it rains or soon after. There is less pollen in the air at that time of day.

Allergies are one of our major public diseases, and the increasingly mild weather means that nature wakes up earlier in the year, which leads to a longer allergy season. Around fifty million Americans suffer from some form of symptoms related to pollen allergy (or allergic rhinitis). Of these, more than one in four have such serious problems that the quality of life and the ability to work or study are affected. Asthma and allergies are diseases that most often appear early in life and remain lifelong ailments. There is, therefore, a lot of research in the area, and today there is an over-the-counter and prescription treatment and also vaccination in injection or tablet form.

Why are some people affected by a high pollen count in New York City yet others remain unaffected?

We do not know all the reasons that go towards people being affected by pollen allergies. There is, however, a certain heredity, but also environmental and lifestyle factors such as smoking, air pollution and hygiene can be important. Allergy means that the immune system overreacts because it perceives an otherwise harmless substance, such as pollen, as harmful and reacts accordingly. In the event of an allergic reaction, the cells of the immune system will release chemical substances (including histamines) that cause the allergic reactions, e.g., increased secretion of fluid and mucus in the nose and eyes, contraction of the airways so that it becomes harder to breathe (asthma) and skin changes such as redness, swelling and itching (eczema).

How is the body affected by a high pollen count in New York City?

Pollen allergies affect between 10 and 20 per cent of the population. This percentage has doubled over the last decade. Nevertheless, some pollens can also have beneficial effects on health. When inhaled, pollen irritates the respiratory system and can cause rhino-conjunctivitis (hay fever), cough, respiratory discomfort, itching, even asthma, hives and eczema. The pollen grains remain in the upper respiratory tract (nose, sinuses, bronchus, pharynx, larynx and trachea) and it is the particles of the pollen grain that cause allergic reactions in humans.

Pollen allergy is a more developed problem in the city. Even if the city, compared to the countryside, has less vegetation, the organism of people living in the city is more sensitive and therefore more reactive to allergies, in particular because of air pollution. Stress can also be an aggravating factor for pollen allergy symptoms.

Is the high pollen count in New York City getting better or worse?

The multiplication of cases of pollen allergies is due to several factors related to climate change and air pollution. Rising temperatures cause earlier flowering and pollination and longer pollen seasons for species that pollinate in late winter and early spring (cypress, ash, birch). More exposed to pollens, the population develops more allergies. Also involved, birch and ragweed pollen grains, in larger quantities, are more allergenic. Moreover, as several studies have shown, the increase in the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, necessary for photosynthesis, significantly increases the production of pollen.

New York City pollen count and allergy info | IQAir (2024)

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