Pollen varies depending on the area of the country, and when pollen releases into the air can depend on the winter weather. A more mild winter will encourage the trees to bloom sooner, while if our winter lasts into March, it can delay the tree blooms. Over the last few years, you may have heard that each year is the worst year ever for pollen as allergy sufferers are hit with a “Pollen Vortex” or “Pollen Tsunami”. While these reports may exaggerate the uniqueness of the weather, warmer temperatures can cause the pollen counts to be higher sooner.
For Kentucky pollen allergy sufferers, it’s always a good idea to keep an eye on pollen counts. This can help you plan your day and remind you to take medications as recommended. You can find pollen counts on our website, patient app, or you can visit Weather.com who uses data from the NAB.
Family Allergy & Asthma runs National Allergy Bureau (NAB) certified pollen counting stations in Kentucky. If you’d like to learn more on how we track pollen, check out our blog, What is a Pollen Count?. Pollen has a predictable release pattern every year. This means once you know the pollen to which you are allergic you can prepare before the pollen arrives.
Types of Pollen Found
Here is a breakdown of the types of pollen we’ll see during a year:
February – April
Trees often start pollinating as early as February. During a mild winter, temperatures might reach 50 degrees sooner, once the temperature stays above 50 for a few days the trees will begin to pollinate. If we have a longer colder winter, this could delay pollen by a few weeks into early March. Different trees will pollinate at different times. The early offenders we find in our pollen counts are Oak and Cedar trees; these trees start to pollinate in February or early March. Next, we see Willow, Pine, Birch, and Mulberry pollinating in April. As we move into May grass pollen starts to show up in our counts, and tree pollination stagnates, falling off mid-June.
May – June
Grass pollen is our main summer culprit. For people with both grass and tree pollen allergies, May can be a rough month, as the pollen season overlap. We start seeing Poaceae pollen or grass pollen in our daily pollen counts. The Poaceae grass family includes Kentucky bluegrass, bermuda, redtop, orchard and timothy grasses. We typically see grass pollen lasting through July as we start to see the appearance of weed pollen.
July – October
Weed pollen, or mainly, Ragweed pollen is notorious for allergies in this part of the country during the fall. Dock or sorrel pollen also appears in our counts. Ragweed is also synonymous with causing hay fever or seasonal allergies. Ragweed peaks in mid-September but can last through October depending on the first freeze of the year.
November – Jan
Winter weather may bring relief for those with pollen allergies in this region of the country! After the first freeze, most pollen counts drop to absent. Allergens still appear in the winter, for instance, mold spores. Mold counts tend to rise and fall year-round, thriving in damp environments, it can grow outdoors and in your home.
The winter months also send people indoors where they spend more time around indoor allergens like dust mites or pet dander. Learn how you can reduce indoor allergens in your home with these five tips.
Check out the below infographic for a birdseye view of when pollen appears in Kentucky and how we count it. If your allergies are getting worse, schedule an appointment with our allergists and our doctors will help get you back on track.
Infographic: Kentucky Pollen Throughout the Year