“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.
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.”
Helpful tips during allergy season
Keep your car and house windows closed; run the air conditioner (recycled setting) instead.
Change or clean your air filters regularly.
Shower before going to bed or when you get home. Pollen can settle into your hair and onto your clothes and skin, so a shower will keep you from breathing in pollen all night.
Wash off indoor pets' paws and wipe down their fur with a damp cloth or towel if they've been outdoors. Pets can easily track pollen into your home, leaving it on your carpets and furniture.
Avoid outdoor activities until early evening. Pollen counts tend to be highest in the mornings.
Shelia has worked at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution for more than 30 years. Previously, she worked at The Lexington Herald-Leader and The Louisville Defender. Her beat is a bit of a mixed bag that includes religion and spirituality, culture and trends, race and aging. She earned degrees from Spelman College and Northwestern University.