Rain may have washed away some pollen but it’s far from over, allergist says

METRO ATLANTA — Pollen is everywhere, symptoms are flaring and it will be a long time before the air is clear.

Alicia Short-Thompson, a patient at Atlanta Allergy and Asthma, spoke with Channel 2′s Eboni Deon. She said she thought she had a severe food allergy, and it turns out tree pollen was to blame.

“I literally hate March until May,” Thompson said. “I feel like I’m suffocating, my eyes immediately begin to itch.”

Thompson’s allergies are worse since she moved to Georgia.

“I am allergic to just about all of the trees that grow in Georgia,” Thompson said.

The pollen count has been in the thousands this past week and Dr. Stanley Fineman, an allergist for Atlanta Allergy and Asthma, says any count over 1,000 causes problems for his patients with pollen allergies.

“Right now we’re seeing a lot of tree pollens, especially the hardwoods,” Fineman said.

Oak, sycamore, and hazelnut are among the trees producing pollen.

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“We’re seeing some pine pollen and we’re thinking, quite frankly, we might see more in pine in the next few days,” Fineman said.

That’s the yellow pollen all over our cars, on the sidewalks, in our driveways. While it is a nuisance, it’s not as allergenic; it acts a dust and it is an irritant, according to Fineman.

Rain brings temporary relief by washing pollen away and clearing the air, but plants like rain and it helps them pollinate.

“The pollen can come back. You get a nice breezy day that’s warm, the plants will release their pollen and we’ll see higher counts,” Fineman said.

Fineman says to brace yourselves, as tree pollen will remain high now through the end of April.

“I love being outside in nature, just not the pollen,” Thompson said.

Fineman suggests getting tested to learn what is triggering your symptoms, and try to get outdoors early in the day before the pollen count peaks.