Pollen count high in southwest Montana


BOZEMAN, Mont. - Tree and grass pollen is considered high according to's "Pollencast." This weekend, those levels are expected to drop, while weed pollen is expected to reach a 'high' level by Sunday. Dan Forth Webster works at a summer day camp, which means he's outside everyday during the summer. "I'm definitely one of the many that gets the runny nose and all that stuff because it's literally in the air just like it's snowy," he explained. And like many Montanans, Dan has seasonal allergies, triggered by pollen in the air. Right now, Montana's pollen count is high, with most of the allergens coming from grasses and trees. "This season has been a particularly bad season," explained Dr. Michael Zacharisen, a local allergist. He said more people than usual have been walking through his office doors this summer. "I've seen people who have never had allergies before experiencing them for the first time," he said. "I've also seen people who've had mild allergies before and they're very severe this time in particular the eye symptoms itchy, watery, red, and not controlled with over the counter products." One of the reasons: Montana's short summer season causes short, but intense spikes in pollen. "Here they're intense and that can overwhelm a person who has even mild allergies," Dr. Zacharisen said. A feeling Webster knows all too well. "I have friends that in the summertime, they can't go near certain grasses or something because there's so much pollen," Webster said. But, Dr. Zacharisen explained people with allergies won't suffer for much longer. "If people are allergic to grass pollen, their symptoms will last through July and should taper off," he said. To help with allergy symptoms, Dr. Zacharisen recommends taking a shower and changing your clothes when you get home for day, to help keep pollen out of your house. Keep your windows closed completely to keep the pollen out. Pollen is small enough to come through window screens. Take over the counter allergy medicine to help manage symptoms.