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Those Pollen Reminders

Picture: Kuensel
It is spring here in the capital and Thimphu is heating up after cold winter made its exit. At this time of the year, many people especially living on the southern belt of the country are envious of the place. And here this weather is giving us its own share of heat. And with little or not much rain the place is dusty. 

But of late there is this poplar tree or cottonwood become nuisance to us all. The sources on the Internet say that these trees are found throughout the North America, but they are here in Thimphu too. The pollens the trees produce are cotton-like "white fluffy cloud" that enters our eyes, nose and in our cars. Many have complained of getting allergies.

Here is what I have found on the net - (source:
Many plants and trees require insects and other animals to reproduce, while others use a combination of different methods. Poplar trees, by contrast, rely entirely on the wind to reproduce. To make up for this inefficient method of reproduction, poplar trees produce a prodigious amount of pollen during their reproductive season. This accumulation of poplar pollen results in white, fluffy clouds that resemble cotton. Despite the visual appeal of this seasonal sight, the broad distribution of poplar pollen creates a range of problems for allergy.  
Otherwise known as allergic rhinitis, the symptoms of hay fever strike sufferers after exposure to airborne allergens. While these also include dust and dander, hay fever is primarily associated with the springtime production of pollen by trees attempting to reproduce. For people who are allergic to poplar pollen, this can result in burning or itching sensations in your throat, mouth, nose and skin; a runny nose; sneezing; headaches; coughing; a sore throat; and teary, swollen eyes. 
Although poplar allergies typically manifest as hay fever, some allergy sufferers may experience more severe symptoms. Inhaling the airborne pollen particles, for example, can lead to breathing difficulties and potentially trigger severe reactions in people with asthma. Similar to pink eye, a condition known as allergic conjunctivitis can arise from exposure to poplar pollen. Many of the symptoms of this condition are similar to, but more severe than, those of hay fever. If you experience conjunctivitis due to poplar pollen, you may experience red eyes, overwhelming itching and burning sensations, puffy eyelids, watery eyes and stringy eye discharge. 
And the city officials have started to cut down these "allergy-trees" that have grown by the roadside, along the highways, near the buildings. It is good to know that the officials are taking responsibilities to do this. But I do not get this reason why only now when the pollens have started to spread in the air? What took them so long? Didn't they notice the trees before or have they grown dramatically quick to miss their attention? The city officials were engaged in felling the trees likewise the other year. But this year they needed 'pollen-reminder' to wake them up.

This makes me think that we are waiting till the last moment for everything. We do not need pollen grains to be fully visible (and even start to fall off the trees) to remind us of its harmful effects to people's health. So many other things are likewise unattended until the last minute. For example - an entrance door leading to a children's park needed a death of a child to remind us of the need for safety. I am not really sure if it is repaired at all after that fateful incidence.


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