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Pollen Counts and Pitches

Yes, it's that time of year again, and there's no escaping spring fever.

April 19, 2001|MICHELLE MALTAIS | michelle.maltais@latimes.com

Spring means many things to different people. Whether you're sneezy, dopey or sporty, it's the season for blossoms, chew, cut grass and corsages.

Our recent rains have helped bring fields of wildflowers back to life. The trick is knowing where to look and where to figure out what you're looking at. A good start is http://totalescape.com/active/leisure/wildflwr.html, which has information on where to find choice areas and what to expect to see. At http://www.desertusa.com/wildflo/wildupdates.html, you'll find updates on the various areas blooming with desert flowers. It includes pictures and several assessments of plant development. The site also provides a flower and plant guide so you know when you're seeing a bastard toadflax.

At http://www.gorp.com/gorp/activity/hiking/features/topten_summerbloom.htm, you'll find a list of the top 10 U.S. parks in which to see wildflowers. And while you're planning your trek to the center of the pollen world, you might try to stem potential problems by checking http://weather.yahoo.com/graphics/pollen/US.html before you leave. It indicates where the sniffle hot spots are around the country. Another place to check is http://www.pollen.com/pollen.com.asp, where you can plug in your ZIP code for a report. It offers a complete glossary of information about pollen and periods of peak activity and coverage.

Speaking of coverage, or lack of it by some parents' assessment, at high schools across the country, everything's coming up taffeta. It'll soon be time for prom and all the drama that comes with it. For help with this aspect of spring fever, teens can click on http://www.react.com/useful_stuff/prom/how.html for advice on stuff such as developing a prom look. Also, http://www.teen.com/spotlight/prom/prom.html and http://www.yourprom.com offer some decent suggestions for Daddy's little girl.

Another sight that can bring tears to a grown man's eyes are the words "Play ball!" For the skinny on how the teams are shaping up this year, check out Major League Baseball's site at http://www.mlb.com. There are tons of other sites for baseball fans. Another place to start is http://sports.yahoo.com.

Those who favor a different field of dreams--and more intimidating projectiles--can check out http://www.trackandfield.com/content/links/links.asp for news and articles about track and field events and athletes.

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Michelle Maltais is a broadcast producer and copy editor at The Times.

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