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Rocketing Pollen Count Makes 2021 Allergy Season Nothing To Sneeze At

Brian Bull

If you’ve spent the past week sneezing, rubbing your eyes, and even suffering asthma, that’s because one of the worst allergy seasons since 2010 is upon us in the South Willamette Valley. 

Grass pollen counts are off the charts, in a region where the geography essentially clusters particulates from nearby Linn County…grass seed capitolof the world.

“We’ve had calls non-stop,” said Melanie Wayne, a nurse practitioner at Oregon Allergy Associates. “We have not had such a high grass pollen count since maybe 2010.

"And ‘round Friday just before Memorial Day, our grass pollen counts were hovering in the 30s (pollen per cubic meter, or ppm), but then on May 31st, our count went up over 1200.” 

Wayne added that besides being intense, the 2021 allergy season seems to have started ahead of schedule.

"I would say that we actually started maybe a few days to a week early, we generally see our highest grass pollen counts the first to second week of June," she told KLCC. "Occasionally we can start right at Memorial Day. So generally speaking, we’re within the time frame but it may be a few days early."

Over-the-counter medications and sprays can help alleviate suffering and agitation. Prescription grass pollen tablets and allergy shots are options for intense cases.

Copyright 2021, KLCC. 

Brian Bull is an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Oregon, and remains a contributor to the KLCC news department. He began working with KLCC in June 2016.   In his 27+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (22 regional),  the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from  the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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