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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

The Living on Earth Almanac

Air Date: Week of

This week... facts about pollen allergies.


CURWOOD: It's Spring, and many a young person's heart is turning to thoughts of -- ah, choo! -- excuse me, allergies. If you suffer from hayfever or allergic rhinitis, as the medical set calls it, you are not alone. In fact, without allergies doctors might be more alone; hayfever's responsible for more than 7 million visits to physicians' offices each year. And all those visits aren't cheap. Direct and indirect costs of hayfever in the US run to nearly $2 billion a year. More than 22 million Americans actually have allergic rhinitis, but more than half of them don't know they have allergies. They just always get a cold around this time of year. Many if not most folks, especially east of the Mississippi, are allergic to ragweed pollen; birch and maple pollen are other common culprits. By the end of May, grass pollen will also be making life miserable for many humans. The Midwest is the toughest area for the pollen impaired, but no part of the nation is safe. In Tucson, lawmakers are doing their part to clean up the air. They've passed a law banning the planting of trees that are high in pollen. And for this week, that's the Living on Earth almanac -- ah, ah, ah, ah... choo!



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