Many people who have spent time in the Czech outdoors the last few days have been struck by the unusually high amount of pollen in the air. Nature reserves are thick with particles descending on meandering streams and pathways full of hikers and cyclists.
There is so much yellow pollen in the air this year many, including online, mistakenly concluded it was from fields of rapeseed, which are common in the Czech countryside. Specialists were quick to point out that this was nonsense but that the pollen was largely from spruce and pine.
Dr. Ondřej Rybníček, an allergologist at the Teaching Hospital in Brno, explains:
“What people have noticed most definitely is not rapeseed pollen but pollen from pine and spruce. Pollen from rape is much heavier and falls to the ground within the vicinity of the field. Only a small percent of the population suffers rape pollen allergies. Far more people are affected by pollen from trees.”
The explosion of pine and spruce pollen this year, naturally, is most intensely being experienced in forests and the country’s many nature reserves and those biking or hiking the last few days will have had to wipe yellow pollen off their sunglasses, helmets, car windshields, and other gear repeatedly.
For those with tree pollen allergies the explosion of tree pollen has been their own personal form of hell.
Why has there been so much?
“The season is not unusual although in other years there has been less of the yellow pollen. Both spruce and pines bloom in cycles between 2 – 5 years and this year those cycles lined up at the same time. That is why we have seen so much pollen, which covers everything, even [streams and ponds], in yellow.”
The good news is that within a few days tree pollen allergy sufferers will be able to breathe a sigh of relief. Others though, specifically with allergies to grass pollen, which are higher in number, will suffer instead.
“That’s one positive. Within a week we will see the more aggressive tree allergens cease blooming. But by next week, the grass pollen season will start and that is what most people here suffer allergies from. So one group will breathe easier and for another the suffering will begin.”