Learning to happily dance through the yellow dust

It’s an annual rite of spring here in Lincoln Parish, often temporarily turning the area into a Land of Oz complete with “yellow brick roads” as pine pollen rains down, descending on sidewalks, streets and vehicles.

And it can be annoying and potentially even painful at times as many people like me suffer with sneezing; itching of the nose, eyes or roof of the mouth; runny, stuffy noses and watery or red eyes.

Believe me, on Thursday I sounded like Kermit the Frog and looked like I had mistaken my Visine bottle for a bottle of Tabasco. And the carpet heading into our house from the back door we mainly use off our driveway is now an unusual yellowish shade complete with golden footprints stamped into it.

According to Weather.com, the three-day area outlook for pollen counts are very high for tree pollen and high for grass pollen. Mathematically speaking, Thursday’s pollen count showed 2,118 “grains of pain” per cubic meter of air in Lincoln Parish.

But looking on the “bright side,” at least we have no chance of a ragweed pollen (said to be the worst for allergy attacks) count right now in Lincoln Parish..

Fortunately Wednesday’s heavy rains appears to maybe have knocked most of the pine pollen out of the trees. But don’t expect your allergies to disappear anytime soon. That yellow powder is mostly pine pollen, which has larger grains than most other pollens. But pecan tree pollen is yellow, too.

Elm and cedar pollen counts have also risen, and one of the biggest allergy culprits, oak pollen, is only starting to flourish.

But as frustrating as pine pollen falling from trees is, that magical gold dust is thought to have multiple beneficial properties, too. It’s said that pine pollen doesn’t not cause sneezing and itchy eyes nearly as much as other pollen too small to be able to see.

So just like most things in life, I guess sometimes you have to take the “bad with the good.”

For people like me dealing with things like rheumatoid arthritis (RA), many scientists feel that pine pollen has been shown to reduce anti-inflammatory markers in mouse models of RA and was found to down regulate inflammatory compounds and increase antioxidant activity in an in vitro experiment with human cancer cells.

Pine pollen is also believed to activate the immune system and aid in recovery from stress. That first part I find a little confusing because RA causes a person’s immune system to begin attacking healthy parts of the body. But who knows, maybe that means it activates that immune system to act correctly?

It is also believed to rebalance a person’s testosterone/estrogen ratio and to be a source of good nutrition.

So I guess the best and probably only thing we can do is take the good with the bad and grin and bear the four “true” seasons of north Louisiana living — storm, pollen, summer and football.

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