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6 surprising facts about pollen

Six surprising facts about pollen that you might not know. 1.) Hay fever affects 1 in 5 people Pollen is made up of tiny particles which are released by plants and trees. 1 in 5 people in the UK have an allergy to this pollen. Symptoms include frequent sneezing and itchy eyes, throat and nose. Hay fever usually begins in childhood and is more common in boys than girls. Many people find symptoms improve as they get older, disappearing completely for around 15% of sufferers 2.) Bright plants are not the enemy You might think that bright, strongly scented plants would be the worst for people with hay fever - these bright flowers, known as Entomophilous, attract insects to spread their pollen. It is actually dull or colourless plants that produce the pollen that most affect sufferers. These Anemophilous plants, such as trees, grass and weeds rely on the breeze to spread their pollen, which are smaller and produced in much higher quantities meaning the pollen is in the air and can easily enter your eyes and nose. 3.) Your pets can get hay fever It is not only humans who can suffer from hay fever. Both dogs and cats can be affected too You can help your pet by wiping its paws and face after it has been outside and keeping long haired pets trimmed, as well as weekly baths. 4.) It can be used to fight crime Forensic palynology is the study of how pollen and other microscopic plant bodies can be used in relation to criminal investigations. Samples of pollen recovered from sources such as clothes or hair can be matched with pollen found at a crime scene. It is particularly effective as pollen can remain stuck to an object even after washing 5.) The pollen season lasts almost all year Although usually associated with the summer months, pollen season can start as early as January and end as late as September. This is because pollen comes from many different trees, weeds, and grasses which release pollen at different times of the year. 6.) It can help you look back in time Studies of fossilised pollen allow paleobiologists to learn about long extinct vegetation. Recent studies of pollen fossils potentially revealed evidence of flowers 20 million years earlier than previously believed. Music: Chopping the Piano - Ryan Little
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