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News / Health / Clark County Health

Warmth brings rise in pollen count in Clark County

Those with allergies may feel effects of springlike weather

By Chrissy Booker, Columbian staff writer
Published: April 13, 2024, 6:06am

Temperatures in Clark County will rise this weekend — and so will the pollen count.

Vancouver is expected to see a high of 71 degrees today and 66 degrees Sunday, with a low of 47 degrees both days, according to the National Weather Service in Portland.

Warmer temperatures tend to increase pollen production, so people with allergies may feel the effects this weekend.

The closest pollen-count station to Clark County is at the Portland-based Allergy Clinic. The clinic last week recorded levels of tree pollen in the high range of 279. For comparison, a low to moderate pollen count is between 5 and 19. Both grass and weed pollen were absent at the time of the count last week.

Nurse Emily Trevillyan helps conduct the local pollen count, which is then reported to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. Pollen counts are generally conducted using an air-sampling device, such as a rotorod, which is then examined for the number of pollen grains. That count is converted into units of grains per cubic meter of air.

Hay fever, or allergic rhinitis, is the reaction many experience when coming into contact with environmental allergens such as pollens, dust mites and mold. People experiencing severe recurring allergy symptoms should see their doctor to discuss a treatment plan. Milder symptoms can be managed with over-the-counter medicine, or by staying indoors during periods of high pollen counts, according to the Allergy Clinic.

A low pollen count doesn’t guarantee mild allergy symptoms, however. Similarly, a very high pollen count may not cause worse symptoms, according to the academy.

Temperatures in Vancouver will drop again Monday, with a high of 57 degrees and a low of 45 degrees.

Meteorologist Jon Liu said it is not uncommon for the area to experience quick stretches of warm weather before returning to showers.

“It’s really rather typical for us to see this sort of pattern of a few sunny then showery days.” Liu said. “Generally, that’s because while we get into springtime, the last stretches of winter haven’t ended and there’s still some low systems over the Pacific Ocean that spin their way towards us. All things considered, it’s pretty nice weather for this time of the year.”

As we move further into spring and summer, it is important to stay hydrated, wear sunscreen and take care of your body, Liu said.

“A lot of folks like to do housework or yard work during stretches of nice weather, but make sure you take frequent breaks and stay hydrated and try to limit exposure to the sun during those really warm stretches,” he said.

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This story was made possible by Community Funded Journalism, a project from The Columbian and the Local Media Foundation. Top donors include the Ed and Dollie Lynch Fund, Patricia, David and Jacob Nierenberg, Connie and Lee Kearney, Steve and Jan Oliva, The Cowlitz Tribal Foundation and the Mason E. Nolan Charitable Fund. The Columbian controls all content. For more information, visit columbian.com/cfj.