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VERIFY: Different types of rain events can impact pollen counts in different ways

Many allergy sufferers look forward to a cleansing rain to wash away the pollen, but experts say it doesn't always work that way.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Strong storms swept through the Carolinas Wednesday, bringing heavy rain, strong winds, and several tornado warnings. While rain generally puts a damper on the day, some were rejoicing that the rain, at the very least, should wash away the brutal pollen. Or does it?

THE SOURCES

THE QUESTION 

Does rain always cut down on pollen levels?

THE ANSWER

This is false.

No, rain does not always reduce pollen levels. Different types of rain events can impact pollen counts in different ways, Panovich said. Sometimes, rain can actually make things worse for allergy sufferers. 

THE QUESTION

What kinds of rain help best with pollen counts?

THE ANSWER

Panovich said light, steady, long-lasting showers are the best conditions for decreasing pollen levels. He said a wind from the north is more favorable than one from the south, which can carry more pollen in from warmer regions.

On the other hand, scattered storms would be the worst-case scenario for pollen-sufferers since sudden, aggressive downpours can bust apart pollen clusters into smaller particles and send them into the air.

According to the AAFA, rain during an already humid season can also enhance mold and dust mite counts, since mold thrives in damp conditions and dust mites multiply well too.

THE QUESTION

Did Wednesday's rain event help the pollen counts in the Carolinas?

THE ANSWER

This is false.

Unfortunately, no. Pollen counts remain high this week, with levels forecast to climb through the weekend.

Credit: WCNC Charlotte

Contact Vanessa Ruffes at vruffes@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram. Contact Brad Panovich at bpanovich@wcnc.com or follow him on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.  

VERIFY is dedicated to helping the public distinguish between true and false information. The VERIFY team, with help from questions submitted by the audience, tracks the spread of stories or claims that need clarification or correction. Have something you want VERIFIED? Text us at 704-329-3600 or visit /verify.

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