(WKBN) – We are in the heart of pollen season as we approach the middle of May. This is the season for runny noses, sneezing, headaches and even sinus infections due to a reaction to pollen.

Tree pollen is at its peak and the grass pollens are increasing rapidly as the spring growth expands with the warmer temperatures. This results in many being impacted if they suffer allergy reactions from pollen.

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What is pollen?

The definition of pollen is a mass of microspores in a seed plant appearing usually as fine dust. Any plant that flowers will produce pollen. This includes trees and flowers and grass.

In order for a plant to reproduce, it will need to go through the process known as pollination. This is the process of transferring pollen within the same flower/plant, or from one plant to another known as cross-pollination.

Reproduction created from a parent plant is limited due to many environmental items. For this reason, plants typically produce a large amount of pollen to compensate for the environmental impacts that may limit the chance of reproduction.

Is the pollen forecast high right now?

Yes, pollen is high across the area. Tree pollen is peaking and grass pollen continues to increase as we approach the middle of May across Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Pollen forecast is high for trees and grass pollen is increasing.

How does pollen travel?

Pollen is very light and gets picked up by the wind and can move around very easily, allowing it to travel for miles at times. It can also be transferred by pollinators. A pollinator is anything from a bird to an insect. Some examples are hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies. There are many flying birds and insects that can transfer pollen from one plant to another. They are efficient at the process.

What is pollen used for?

Pollen is the male reproductive part of the plant or flower. The purpose of pollen is to fertilize plants and flowers of the same species.

Once the pollination takes place, it is the end of the reproduction process. A seed is produced and then either dropped on the ground or eaten by animals and birds that may drop the seed in another location to create a new plant far away from the original.

Why do we react to Pollen?

As we breathe in these tiny pollen microspores, they release small amounts of water-soluble proteins and these group together in our mucus membranes around the eyes, mouth and nose.

If your body has allergies to certain pollens it will react thinking the pollen is an invasive germ. Once it thinks that it is invasive, it will create a reaction and produce histamine to trigger the nerves and that enhances the itching and sneezing process in order to try and rid your body of the invasive pollen.

These reactions can be minor or severe depending on your body and how it reacts.