SAN ANTONIO -- The yellowish sheen that is currently covering most of South Texas may be good for car wash businesses, but it's taking a toll on allergy sufferers.
Oak pollen, a seasonal allergen is back in the air. In 2010 the level of oak hit a 25 year high, maxing out 40,000 grains per cubic meter of air. Sunday morning, the pollen got as high as 15,470 before dropping to 12,300 on Monday.
Doctors say the problem with oak pollen is that it is "heavy". Oak pollen, like juniper, has the tendency to cause irritation in people who do not normally suffer from allergies.
The spike in oak pollen can be traced to two factors; last year's rain and a mild winter. Spring rains in 2010 helped to knock down last year's record oak pollen, however, the rain also helped the trees grow. All the growth from the previous year basically went unchecked in the winter with temperatures staying mostly above freezing.
The windy conditions over the past few days have also added to the problem. Pollen can be carried by the wind more than 100 miles.
The only hope to knock down the current oak pollen level is rain in the next few days; however, current forecasts call for nothing more than a slight drizzle, meaning allergy sufferers may have to hit the pharmacy one more time before the oak makes its way out of town.