Pollen is a plant’s male DNA that is transported to the female part of the flower to enable the plant to reproduce. This is obviously useful, but a lot of people get allergic reactions from the small plant parts. The immune system mistakenly identifies harmless pollen as a dangerous intruder and begins to produce chemicals to fight against the pollen.

Pollen allergy typically causes one or more of these symptoms:  Runny nose, sneezing, itching in eyes/mouth, stuffy nose (nasal congestion) or swelling around the eyes. Pollen allergies can be diagnosed by doctors and there are several good medications available. 

The pollen season varies from pollen type to pollen type, and hits at different times in different locations.  It’s estimated that one in four in the UK has pollen allergies, in Norway the number is around 20% of the population. Among people with asthma, it is very common to also have pollen allergies.

In general, we react to plants that are wind-pollinated, not those that are pollinated by insects. The pollen most people react to comes from trees, grasses and weeds. Some plant types have stronger allergens than others, like birch, oak and ragweed. 

Some common pollen types people are allergic to are listed below (the list is not exhaustive, there are many more species):

  • Grass (gramineae or poaceae)
  • Ragweed (ambrosia)
  • Mugwort (artemisia)
  • Birch (betula)
  • Alder (alnus glutinosa)
  • Hazel (alnus serrulata)
  • Willow (salix)
  • Olive (olea)
  • Cypress (Cupressus)
  • Oak (quercus)

Pollen is released during spring, summer and even autumn in temperate climate areas. For tropical climates, the pollen season is longer, but typically peaks in spring/summer (early monsoon).

Onset and duration of the season will typically vary from year to year, based on weather and growth conditions.  

As mentioned above, the pollen that we react to is normally spread by the wind. Pollen from trees can spread for miles with the wind, while pollen from grasses travels shorter distances. Rain will often stop the pollen from flying around and reduce pollen levels.  Thunderstorms, on the other hand, may under special conditions cause asthma attacks, known as “thunderstorm asthma”.

The Airmine Pollen app gives you pollen risk levels, meaning the chance of exposure to various pollen types. To calculate the risk levels, we use vegetation mapping by satellite images and image recognition, as well as weather, measurements and topology. 

The risk levels we use:

grey - none

No pollen risk – typically when a species is not in pollen season

green - low

Low pollen risk. There may be some pollen in the area.

yellow - moderate

Risk for medium levels of pollen.

orange - high

Risk for high levels of pollen.

red - very high
Very high

Peak season, very high pollen risk.

Pollen levels will vary locally, depending on vegetation, local weather and when the plants release their pollen. It is also important to understand that our models give a prognosis for  risk levels ahead of time, a bit like the weather forecast. We do our best to give you precise information, but there will always be uncertainties in our risk forecasts.

For more details, please see About our pollen forecasts – Airmine.

  • Get diagnosed by your doctor and get advice and prescriptions for allergy medicines
  • Consider staying indoors when pollen levels are high
  • Open windows when pollen levels are lowest
  • Don’t let your clothes dry outside – they’ll catch pollen
  • Wash your hands and face when you come in from outside
  • Clean your house regularly 
  • Close windows when forecast predicts high pollen levels
  • Plant allergy-friendly plants in your garden
  • Have someone else mow the lawn…

Further reading:
Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America
Astma- og allergiforbundet

We aim to make our products as user-friendly as possible, also for users with visual impairments or other impairments. 

The maps are consistently very difficult to make usable for visually impaired users.

If you have trouble using our app or our web maps or tables, please do not hesitate to contact us at support@airmine.ai.

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