Allergy experts say it's time to get your medicine for pollen season

ATLANTA — It's March and that means pollen season is here!

Pollen counts hit the “high” range in February, the warmest February ever for Atlanta, and experts remind Channel 2 Action News the worst is yet to come. 75 percent of pollen counts last March and April hit the high and extremely high ranges.

That's why doctors are saying you should start your allergy medicine now.

Pollen allergies aren't limited to spring, when we can see the yellow stuff blanketing our cars.


Pollen from hardwood trees such as oak, maple and poplar is behind making you miserable in the spring. Those particles are almost microscopic, unlike pine pollen, which covers your car in yellow. While the pine pollen particles are too big to cause symptoms, their increased activity is indicative of what the microscopic pollens particles are doing.

If you don’t know what’s triggering your symptoms and over-the-counter medications aren’t working, consider getting tested by a board-certified allergist.

"I was very short of breath. My airways felt like they were closing off," said Pamela Williams, a patient at Atlanta Allergy and Asthma.

Williams first visited the clinic three years ago when over-the-counter medications weren't working. Not knowing why she was reacting or to what, she underwent allergy testing.

"They tested me for everything. And I tested positive for everything," she said.

[Download the free Severe Weather Team 2 app to check pollen levels in your area]

Williams began receiving allergy shots to combat the symptoms. Immunotherapy, whether it’s through allergy shots or drops under your tongue, helps your body build a tolerance against the specific allergens that affect you.

For Williams, it’s been a game-changer.

"This was the best thing that could have ever happened to me," she said.

Dr. Erinn Gardner, Board-Certified Allergist with Atlanta Allergy and Asthma, told Severe Weather Team 2 Meteorologist Katie Walls that if you haven't already begun your allergy regimen, now is the time. 75 percent of pollen counts last March and April hit the high to extremely high range.

"You can develop allergies at any point in your life. It’s not something that starts in early childhood, you can develop allergies as an adult as well," she said. "I believe if you’re someone who suffers each spring it’s a good idea to begin taking medications before the pollen counts increase. That way if you’re taking these medications regularly you’re less likely to have severe symptoms."