Thick pollen returns with vengeance to Lake Tahoe Basin | SierraSun.com

Thick pollen returns with vengeance to Lake Tahoe Basin

K. Quinn Ellis took this photo Saturday afternoon from her home in Crystal Bay, showing the thick pollen cloud hovering over Incline Village.

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — Once again, pollen has dusted the Lake Tahoe Basin, covering cars, decks and parking lots in a thin layer of yellow.

In what's become an annual display of nature, clouds of yellow pollen have been seen across the North Shore the past several days, especially above Incline Village.

Pollen can be defined as a fine, powdery yellow substance consisting of microscopic grains discharged from the male part of a flower ­— or from a male cone of a pine tree, which is the case at Lake Tahoe.

According to Pollen.com, the North Tahoe-Truckee region has an average "medium" to "medium-high" forecast for pollen in the coming days.

For Incline Village, the pollen count on Monday was rated at about 4.0 on a scale of 12, where 8-12 is high.

As of Tuesday, the number had jumped to 5.8, and forecasts of as high as 7.7 are expected into the weekend.

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On the South Shore, South Lake Tahoe's pollen count was forecast to be as high as 7.8 this week, according to the website that provides forecasts and ratings for different ZIP codes in the country.

According to past reports, pine pollen rarely causes allergic reactions in people (like it does with flower pollen) because its particles are too large be recognized by the immune system.

Still, the pine pollen, which will continue to fall for the next few weeks (especially on windy days), does irritate noses and can transport mold spores that cause allergic reactions.

There is no cure for allergies, but building up the immune system and reducing exposure can help, according to Pollen.com.

According to past reports, aside from taking allergy medicines like Claritin, homeopathic formulas may also help — they use small doses of natural substances to stimulate the body's natural defenses.

Certain vitamin supplements and alternative remedies may be helpful as well.

You should consult your doctor, or a local pharmacist, on correct treatment for your allergy.

You can also check out local and regional pollen forecasts at Weather.com at this link: http://tinyurl.com/pw8ojpp.