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Sunday, March 22, 2015

Pollen Equi-Shnoz: by the Numbers

Greenwich Village, 1958.

Everyone else is outside. I’m in here sniveling and sneezing. My nose is running. Eyes are itching so much I want to scratch them out of my skull. All because of tree pollen. Happy spring equinox! For me it's an equi-shnoz.

Ruby and Sophie came to visit me this morning but for some reason (maybe just being here with me) THEY started sneezing and had to leave.

Nothing to do but add up the numbers. Mainly ‘cause it’s what I like to do.
What’s the deal with pollen, anyway? Pollen is a very fine powder found in trees, weeds and grass. It gets carried to another plant of the same kind, to fertilize new seeds. This is called pollination.
The pollen count tells us how many grains of plant pollen are in a certain amount of air (often one cubic meter) during a set period of time (usually 24 hours).
Oh, boy, is this making you sneeze? It’s making ME sneeze.
The pollen… of some plants… Ah-choo! …gets from plant to plant by bees and other insects. These plants usually have brightly colored flowers and sweet scents. They rarely cause allergies.
Other plants…ah choo! …use  wind to carry pollen from plant to plant. These plants have small, drab flowers and hardly any scents. These are the plants that cause most allergic reactions, or hay fever.
Did you know… the weed that causes 75 percent of all hay fever is ragweed, which has … AH CHOO! …numerous species. One ragweed plant is estimated to produce up to 1 billion pollen grains.
There are two subway stops to my doctor in Chelsea, which can either take 9 or 11 minutes depending on the day and the train. The doctor has two nurses and three patient rooms.
He also has a candy bowl with 42 pieces of candy in it, or at least that’s what he had yesterday when I visited. He gave me some pills, but I don’t think they’re ah... ah... (sigh) ...working yet.
How many people have allergies? In the early part of the 1950s, 10 percent of New Yorkers were said to have allergic rhinitis which means something like the symptoms I’m having. 
How many are there in 1958? How many are kids? I don’t know, but I’m going to find out. As soon as I can go outside again. And stop... AH.... CHOOO!!!!! ...sneezing.