It may be peak cold and flu season, but Channel 2 Action News meteorologist Eboni Deon said there could be another reason you’re running for the tissues this week.
Temperatures in the 70s across North Georgia have caused pollen counts to rise and symptoms for allergy sufferers to flare, Deon said. On Monday, the pollen count was at zero. On Tuesday, it jumped to a moderate 64, according to the Atlanta Allergy and Asthma group.
The count for Wednesday is four times the count from the day before. It’s now at 260, which is considered high.
Stanley Fineman, a doctor at the allergy group, told the news station early trees, including elm, alder, cedar and birch, are causing those with allergies to seek help a few weeks earlier than normal.
"What we're already seeing is an increase in our tree pollen, which is a bit unusual to see before Valentine's Day," Fineman said. "People start having symptoms when tree pollen first comes out."
In 2018, Channel 2 meteorologist Brian Monahan said Atlanta did not hit “triple digit counts” until Feb. 13.
“We didn't have a 260+ count until the 16th,” he said in a tweet.
Fineman said heavy tree pollen is usually not seen until late March. With above-average temperatures in the forecast through Friday, he said pollen numbers will likely continue to rise.
Doctors encourage those dealing with sneezing and a stuffy nose to get an allergy skin test to know what is causing the symptoms, Channel 2 reported.