Pollen count highest it’s been all year in Atlanta

Arm yourself with tissue and medication, allergy-prone Atlantans.

Thursday’s pollen count was 1,531 particles of pollen per cubic meter of air — the highest count of the season so far.

“It is following the normal pattern this time of year,” said Robin Panethere, a spokeswoman with Atlanta Allergy & Asthma, which tracks the level of pollen. “It will climb as long as the weather stays warm and there is no rain to clean the air.”

While Thursday’s pollen count was the highest of the year, it was still about a fourth of last year’s season high of 6,152 on April 9.

Atlanta Allergy & Asthma, the largest allergy practice in Georgia, broke down the pollen count into three categories — pollen from grass, weeds and trees, which is what pushed Thursday’s count into the extreme range.

“Plants release pollen as the days get warmer,” Panethere said. “Since we have had so much rain this year [14 inches since January compared to 9 inches last year], we are anticipating a greater problem with pollen this year.”

There’s a good chance the pollen count will fall a bit after this weekend, when temperatures are expected to cool and rain is likely.

In the meantime, here are some tips for surviving high pollen days:

» Close car and house windows, and run the air conditioners on the recycled setting.

» Change or clean your air filters regularly.

» Shower before going to bed or when returning home. Pollen can settle into hair, clothes and skin.

» Wash off indoor pets’ paws and wipe down their fur with a damp cloth or towel if they’ve been outdoors.

» Avoid outdoor activities until early evening. Pollen counts tend to be highest in the mornings.

» Take allergy medication before going outdoors. Don’t wait until symptoms occur.

» See a board certified allergist for a proper diagnosis and develop a treatment plan.

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