BEND, OR -- Many suffering watery eyes and non-stop sneezing are blaming the clouds of yellow pollen leaving a blanket of fine dust across the region. But, Dr. Adam Williams, allergist and asthma specialist at Bend Memorial Clinic, says it's likely not the pine pollen causing all your problems. "What we see is the yellow pine pollen, but what we feel when we're sneezing and having really bad allergy symptoms is actually grass pollen."
Dr. Williams tells KBND, "The grass pollen is not as easily visible, so when we see the yellow we associate it with our seasonal allergies. But, the yellow pollen is actually the pine and not very many people are actually allergic to pine pollen. Most people who are having nasal allergies when we see the pollen on the ground and blowing off the trees like we're seeing now, is actually the grass pollen." Grass pollen season lasts about eight weeks in Central Oregon, and should end in mid-July.
But, Dr. Williams says this is likely not the last time we'll suffer through an early and intense allergy season. "So, if this is a function of the same global climate change that they've been predicting, then this would be the effect that they would've predicted with a warmer winter. Pollen came earlier and also the trees probably produced more pollen that was then released."
He says the clouds of yellow pine pollen don't pose much of a health risk beyond what normal dusty conditions might create.