Some people refer to it as snow in July. Fluff from Cottonwood trees doesn't melt but it does tend to pile up this time of year.

Matt Stichick, an Anchorage air quality specialist with the municipality, said the fluff balls have seeds inside which are distributed when they fly on the wind. What they don't have, according to Stichick, is pollen, so people who fear their allergies are being aggravated by Cottonwood fluff are probably suffering from something else.

"They see the fluff and they think that might be contributing to their allergies, but probably, it's a different kind of pollen that is setting them off," said Stichick. "The Cottonwood pollen has already peaked as of late May.

He recommends people go to www.muni.org/air and follow the link to the Asthma, Allergy, and Immunology Center of Alaska, which provides the official pollen count.

Stichick said this year's Cottonwood season may look worse than usual because of the dry weather Anchorage is experiencing. He said one good rain would tamp it all down.

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