Feeling yucky? It’s probably the high pollen count

3:39 p.m Wednesday, March 22, 2017 Atlanta health, diet and fitness news
Getty Images / Oli Scarff
Unseasonably warm temperatures and above average rain fall in the last 2 weeks of January have provided ideal conditions for trees to produce pollen.

If you find yourself reaching more for the eye drops and tissue, there’s good reason.

It’s the yellow dust that is covering cars, the ground and anything that stands still for longer than five minutes.

Last March, the Atlanta pollen count hit 2,759, reaching what the National Allergy Bureau considers the “extremely high” range for the sixth time in the past eight days.

“It’s tree pollen, mostly,” said Dr. David Tanner, medical director for Atlanta Allergy & Asthma. “It’s not much else.”

The major culprits are oak, pine, sweet gum, Sycamore and ash trees.

“It’s been at a fairly high level, especially for this time of year,” he said.

Tanner said during the spring, the pollen count is usually in the 1,000 range. “We’ve had a relatively warm winter and a very warm spring,” he said. “The temperature has been about 10 degrees above normal. Basically, we have April weather in March and the trees don’t know the difference.”

He said the practice’s patient load is up slightly.

Patients who suffer from allergies may experience an increase in symptoms because of the large amount of pollen in the air.

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Most patients have complained about watery, itchy and swelling around the eyes. There may also be some nasal drainage, which can also irritate the throat.

He advises people to use common sense, which means keeping the car and house windows closed. If you’re very sensitive, Tanner suggests using a mask to cover your nose and month when working outside, which will help eliminate some exposure. Then, of course, there’s always the option to stay indoors as much as possible,” but this is nice weather and no one wants to stay inside.”

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