Breathe easy: Pollen season is coming to a close

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Photo Credit: Melanie Westfall | Daily Texan Staff

In the past few weeks, campus has changed colors — from burnt orange to bright yellow.

Austin is reaching the end of the spring pollen season, according to pollen.com, but students are still being inundated with the allergy-inducing substance.

Trees begin releasing their pollen between January and April, according to Weather Underground. Higher air currents tend to move the pollen particles through the air and into nasal passages, often creating a pollen allergy.

UT campus had around 4,700 trees in 2013, according to a Daily Texan report.

Laurie Lentz, communications manager of University operations, said the UT landscaping team does not have a protocol or clean-up process when pollen heavily coats the grounds.

“[UT Landscaping does] not take actions specifically to address pollen-related issues,” Lentz said.

Austin’s monthly average pollen and allergy index increases from January to March, when it reaches its yearly peak, according to pollen.com. The index then decreases slightly in April and decreases significantly in May.

From the end of March to the beginning of April, the Austin pollen index stayed at a level roughly above an 8-point index, which is classified as a medium-high or high pollen index.

Susan Hochman, assistant director at University Health Services, said many students have come into the Allergy Clinic in March and April with allergy symptoms.

“I can say that we have seen an increase in students coming in for allergy related reasons, which is typical of this time of year when pollen count is high,” Hochman said.   

Pollen allergies don’t affect everyone — just those who inherit a tendency to be allergic to the particles. 

Linguistics and mathematics senior Madison Lasris said she felt she had some of the worst allergies she has experienced in recent years.

“I was really itchy all the time and sneezing every five seconds, over and over again,” Lasris said.

Allergy symptoms include sneezing, nasal congestion, coughing, itchy and watery eyes, runny nose and itchy throat. Symptoms typically last around a week.

Textiles and apparel senior Rose Montalvo said she was surprised she did not have pollen allergies, but she said the pollen affected others at her workplace.

“At my internship, I’ve been inside for most of the day, but a lot of volunteers have said they can’t come in because they have allergies,” Montalvo said. “It’s gotten the best of them.”

Although Montalvo said she didn’t notice the pollen as much as others may have but that she was annoyed by the amount of pollen on her car.

“Because it doesn’t affect my health, [the pollen] doesn’t really bother me,” Montalvo said. “But my car looks really yellow, so it might be sick.”