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A Plant’s SexThe sex of a plant often influences pollen allergies. Plants that are entirely male:
- Are often used in landscaping, especially in cities, commercial sites, parks, and schools because they do not produce fruit or seeds and result in a visually clean landscape.
- Always release abundant pollen into the air.
- Negatively contribute to the incidence and severity of asthma and allergies, especially in children.
- Some (but certainly not all) may produce fruit or seeds that can be large and messy.
- Clean up pollen by serving as air filters, as natural pollen-traps.
- Never produce any pollen and are truly allergy-free.
- Whenever female plants are used to replace male plants, this reduces the incidence of exposure, and the severity of local asthma and allergies.
Pollen CountsUrban pollen counts have been increasing over the last 15 years at alarming rates and are predicted to double by 2040. Approximately 20% or more of the American population suffers from pollen allergy (AAAAI.com). Multiple factors contribute to this:
- Increasing CO2 that causes plants to grow faster.
- Increasing heat due to climate change/global warming.
- The continuous planting of more and more allergenic plants and trees in cities.
- Increased hardscapes that do not allow pollen to settle and merge into soil.
- Increased use of male plants that trap no pollen and thus recirculate it on to hardscapes.
Allergies and AsthmaAllergies are the major cause of allergic asthma and the most common form of asthma. Sixty million Americans suffer from asthma and allergies. Asthma is the number one chronic childhood disease, and allergies are the fifth leading chronic disease in the United States. Avoiding, and thus controlling one’s allergies seems elusive and mysterious because pollen, the source of seasonal allergy, is invisible to the naked eye. It is in the air we breathe, but is rarely seen or smelled. It is created by different plants in different seasons; trees in winter and spring, grass, shrubs, perennials and weeds in summer and fall, so in many areas can be present almost year round. It is also important to prevent asthma because of its genetic component. Children have a 33% chance of developing asthma if one parent has it, but a 70% chance if both parents have it. Asthma is one of the most common and most costly diseases. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of American every single day:
- 44,000 people have an asthma attack
- 36,000 kids miss school due to asthma
- 27,000 adults miss work due to asthma
- 4,700 people visit the emergency room due to asthma
- 1,200 people are admitted to the hospital due to asthma
- Average length of stay: 3.6 days
- 9 people die from asthma