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Willamette Valley Pollen Counts Among Highest In The World

Oregon Agriculture in the Classroom Foundation

Grass pollen is wreaking havoc for allergy sufferers in the Willamette Valley. This region is home to some of the highest pollen counts in the world.

The past few days, Oregon Allergy Associateshas posted pollen counts above 750 parts per cubic meter. 200 is considered very high.  OAA Nurse Practitioner Melanie Chala-Wayne says people are coming into her Eugene office with acute allergy symptoms beyond runny noses and itchy eyes. She says seasonal asthma is triggered by the pollen in the air. Chala-Wayne says some people won’t leave the house during allergy season.
Chala-Wayne: “It’s a quality of life issue but then it can be a dangerous health issue if you’re having problems breathing because of the asthma.  Some people have trouble doing their job, not just because of asthma or shortness of breath, but because their eyes can get very swollen and they can barely see out of them.”
Chala-Wayne says rain forecast for the next few days might not help allergy sufferers because it can cause grass pollen to fragment into smaller pieces. The NCAA Track & Field Championships are underway in Eugene. Chala-Wayne says good coaches will make sure their athletes are prepared with approved allergy medications.


Rachael McDonald is KLCC’s host for All Things Considered on weekday afternoons. She also is the editor of the KLCC Extra, the daily digital newspaper. Rachael has a BA in English from the University of Oregon. She started out in public radio as a newsroom volunteer at KLCC in 2000.
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