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Why is there so much pollen right now in Massachusetts?

What to know about pine pollen season
What to know about pine pollen season 01:25

BOSTON - Welcome to pine pollen season!  The CBS Boston First Alert weather team has been fielding lots of questions over the last several days regarding the nasty yellow-green slime that is now coating everything from cars to patios across Massachusetts. 

Two different pollen peaks

This is not anything new or unusual. In fact, this same thing happens every year in late May and early June.

Different pollens peak at different times of the year, and some are more noticeable than others to the naked eye and to the lungs. Currently, we are at the intersection of two different pollen "peaks." These include tree pollens like oak, mulberry, and pine, as well as grass pollen.

These will last another week or two, and then we will get a brief respite before ragweed season begins in late July and August.

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Most people are not allergic to pine

What's interesting is that many allergy reports do not even mention pine in their list of current allergens. While pine may be one of the most messy and visible pollens, most people are not allergic to it.

WBZ-TV graphic CBS Boston

Many doctors believe that the main reason for this is the size of the average pine pollen grains. At 60-to-100 microns, pine pollen is thought to be too large to enter the nasal passages and lungs of most allergy sufferers.

That doesn't necessarily mean that inhaling large quantities of it won't affect your breathing or perhaps leave you choking. However, an actual allergic reaction from pine is somewhat rare.  

WBZ-TV graphic CBS Boston

When will the pollen stop?

Given the dry forecast for the next few days, you will continue to see clouds of yellow drifting from the pine trees and getting all over everything. 

Thankfully, some heavy rainfall on Thursday will wash a good deal of the yellow slime down the storm drains, signaling the beginning of the end of the "pine-slime" season in Massachusetts.

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