Pollen: For those of us with allergies, it's our worst enemy. We anticipate the arrival of pollen season with dread. But pollen's not all bad. Take our quiz to see how much you know about pollen, and learn some facts you didn't know.
Seventy-five percent of all pollen allergies are caused by ragweed. Botanists call it the “king” of allergenic plants.
Pollens are the male reproductive cells of flowering plants. Pollen is usually carried through the air, and can travel hundreds of miles.
Weather conditions with low humidity, a gentle breeze, and moderate temperatures make pollen levels higher.
Like other plants, grass also releases pollen in order to reproduce. More than 1,000 species of grass grow in North America, but only a few cause allergies.
High humidity makes pollen levels drop. This happens because high humidity (as well as cold temperatures) delay the release of pollen.
Of the 50,000 or so kinds of trees, only around 100 cause allergies. Watch out for species like elm, pecan, sycamore and walnut.
Although dogwood trees do release pollen, the pollen is carried by insects. Insect-borne pollen is generally too large to cause severe allergies.
For an allergy sufferer, the morning hours are the worst. If you need to be outside, experts recommend you save your activities until afternoon or after a heavy rain.
If you suffer from pollen allergies, the AAFA might recommend you avoid Lexington, Ky. Lexington's pollen score is 100, which means there's a daily average of 300 grains of pollen per cubic meter. A better score for allergy sufferers would be around 50 or so.
Pollen allergy sufferers might want to look into moving to New Haven, Conn., where the pollen score is just 41. This is one of the lowest scores in the continental United States.
Anyone -- or anything -- can bring pollen into your home. Pollen can stick to clothing, fur and skin. Experts recommend you change and wash your clothes if you've been working in the garden, and vacuum your home at least twice a week, if you suffer from allergies.
Just one ragweed plant can release a million grains of pollen per day. Scientists have collected samples of ragweed pollen up to 400 miles out at sea.