Cottonwood, allergy season winding down soon, expert says

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- You've probably seen it: cottonwood flying through the air in West Michigan.  Experts say cottonwood trees and their seeds are working overtime this year.

"It's all over my car and it's all over everything else, and it's annoying and obnoxious and I don't have allergies but I know a lot of people that do and they are suffering," said Kathy Iden.

Iden is not alone.  Other people in Grand Rapids and across West Michigan are being bombarded by the fluffy white stuff. Many people are also feeling the pain of a particularly severe allergy season.

"I have been much worse this week in particular, and I struggle with allergies but not normally enough to have a pill for them.  And this week every single day I've had to have one," said Emily Rood.

And while you may attribute your runny nose, constant sneezing and rough cough to the cottonwood, it may not actually be the culprit.

"Often seasonal allergies are more related to pollens than just particles. Things like fuzz, dust may irritate our allergies, but it's the pollen that's going on the wind at the same time those seeds are traveling on the wind," said Blandford Nature Center Master Naturalist Kristin Tindall. "Correlation is not causation. We just happen to see all of this snow on the ground at the same time something is making us itchy and irritated."

But don't worry, there is relief in sight.

"Last week they were flying about much more than they are this week. Next week they'll be flying even less," Tindall said. "And soon we'll forget they were even out."

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