ATLANTA — Even if you don’t normally have issues with allergies, you still may be feeling the effect of the pollen in the air. That’s because the pollen count is the highest it’s been in years.
Friday’s pollen count stands at 6,262. That’s the fifth highest count the metro has seen since Atlanta Allergy & Asthma started keeping track in 1991.
Despite the rain showers we received Friday morning, we’re feeling it.
Like thousands of others in metro Atlanta, Kaleb Mason, 14, is suffering because of the high pollen count.
“I have a runny nose, red eyes,” Mason said.
“When you have counts in the 6,000-7,000s, it’s affecting everybody. So whether you’re allergic or not, if you can sweep it with a broom it’s getting in your contacts, it’s getting in your nose, it’s getting in the back of your throat,” Dr. Kathleen Sheerin with Atlanta Allergy & Asthma said.
To combat the symptoms, Dr. Sheerin told Walls that she got allergy tested and receives shots to build up her immune system.
Brandon Bohrer did the same thing and said he’s seen a big improvement.
“Allergy shots have really helped,” Bohrer said. “Before it was way worse. My throat would be itchy, my eyes would be itchy, sneezing constantly.”
“It works all year except for this time of year, and this year it’s been especially bad because the pollen count is so high,” Mason said.
Dr. Sheerin told Walls that it takes a long, soaking rain to really dampen pollen counts.
“It’ll be lower, but it certainly won’t be wiped out,” Dr. Sheerin said.
Climate Central tracks the time each year between the last winter freeze and first fall freeze — the period when trees grow, flower and send out pollen.
Atlanta's growing season has increased by 27 1/2 days since 1970, which could mean a longer allergy season.
So when will the pollen season end?
Dr. Sheerin told Walls that trees are still pollinating and will continue to do so through at least mid-April. Then grass pollen will spike in the latter half of April and into May.
HOW DOES POLLEN GET COUNTED?
Certified counters from Atlanta Allergy & Asthma wake up early and physically count the number of pollen particles on a glass slide, which has been outside for 24 hours prior.
The number you see on Channel 2 Action News and on our free WSB Weather App is the number from that morning's count and represents the pollen present in the metro.
Technicians decipher the different types of pollen particles using a microscope. That’s how we know which types of trees, weeds and grass are pollinating and causing issues.
People with allergies should look at the types of pollen that are mentioned in that morning count to know how they might be impacted during the day.
Not everyone is allergic to or irritated by the same thing, but when numbers climb into the thousands, even if you’re not allergic to pollen, you could be irritated.
Allergy experts recommend removing your clothes after being outdoors to eliminate pollen irritants inside your home. That also means washing your animals, which have been outside, so they don’t bring allergens inside.
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