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Georgia Pollen count soars in April

Most Georgia residents don’t expect to see snow on the ground at the beginning of spring, but they can expect to see accumulations of pollen.

This year the pollen count continues to grow, which is unfortunate news for allergy sufferers in DeKalb. On April 11 the pollen count hit 5,098 particles per cubic meter of air, which is the highest pollen count in the metro area since April 4, 2014. The following day, the count reached 5,354.

The Atlanta Allergy and Asthma center said some of the contributing factors to the high pollen count are unseasonally higher temperatures earlier in the year.
The top trees contributing to the pollen count are oak, pine, mulberry, hackberry and ash.

According to DeKalb County District Director of Public Health Dr. Sandra Elizabeth Ford, it may be time for DeKalb residents to start preparing for allergy “season” year-round.

“It seems this is becoming a year-round issue,” Ford said. “Georgia has so many trees and there are so many different types of pollen.”

Ford said anyone suffering from asthma-related conditions should be careful this allergy season. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, higher pollen concentrations and longer pollen seasons can increase allergic sensitization and asthma episodes and diminish productive work and school days.

“These 5,000 and above pollen counts are really problematic,” Ford said. “We have to keep an eye on our asthmatics because they can be triggered by all of this pollen. They should probably take an extra inhaler just in case.”

Ford said the pollen counts are worse in the morning, so early morning joggers and others who are outside early in the day should be cautious. Washing your hands is also important during this time, Ford said.

“Just be mindful that pollen is on your clothes and be careful about touching your eyes. There’s also pollen on your car and if you touch your car then rub your eyes you’ve completely infected yourself,” Ford said.

Ford said she recommends using any number of allergy medicines that are available in stores but warns that individuals should look for medicine that specifically treats the symptoms they are experiencing.  

“Buy the medicine that treats your symptoms. If you don’t need it, don’t take it,” Ford said.

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