Do high pollen counts turn you into a sneezing, sniffling mess? Google's new tool has come to your rescue.
With summer beginning to wind down, fall allergy season is just around the corner. And if you're one of the 17 million adults who are allergic to pollen, Google just unveiled a cool new feature that may make your itchy eyes and runny nose so much more manageable.
In partnership with weather.com, the tech giant just debuted a pollen tracker that will provide the current pollen index in your area as well as the pollen forecast for the next several days. The information will show up in search the way the weather forecast does, so it's just a click away.
Pollen, if you remember from science class, are particles released by trees, grass, and flowers that float around in the outdoor air and are on the upswing starting in September. When pollen gets caught in the human nose or throat, it can trigger an inflammatory response called allergic rhinitis that's commonly known as hay fever.
"Across the U.S., we see that search interest for allergies spikes each year in April and May and then again in September," says a statement on the Google blog. When pollen levels are out of control, users can plan ahead, stopping or easing hay fever so they can function without constantly grabbing a wad of tissues.
To stay on top of changing pollen levels, you can set alerts. This way, when the pollen count near you is high, you'll be notified and can prep by stocking up on allergy meds or staying indoors as much as possible.