Your eyes are itchy. You can’t stop sneezing. And your head really, really hurts.
Even without stepping outside into the clouds of yellow that coat your car and sidewalks, your body knows it’s spring in Georgia, thanks to the numerous symptoms that accompany spring allergies.
The allergy season, which is caused by pollen from trees being released into the air to fertilize plants of the same species, runs from mid-March to May, or for about six weeks, and residents are starting to feel it.
“Pine pollen is obvious; it coats the first 15 feet of the lake,” said Jim Morrow, owner of Morrow Family Medicine in Cumming. “But that’s not actually what bothers you. The [yellow] pine pollen is just a signal that all the other pollens are out there, and that’s how you know other pollens are being released.”
Most spring pollens come from trees, while fall allergies are often triggered by ragweed and other brush.
According to The Weather Channel’s pollen calendar for Cumming, every day last week saw the most extreme pollen count classification, or “very high” counts.
As of noon Friday, the pollen count was at 3,559 pollen grains per cubic meter, more than 600 gains higher than the worst pollen day yet this season.
While predictions are not looking good for upcoming days, Morrow said there are a few steps residents can take to alleviate their symptoms.
“The pine pollen is too large to get into respiratory system, but the other tree pollen is so small you can’t see them and people have all kinds of reactions,” he said. “There are three ways to treat allergies. [The first] is avoidance. Keep windows shut and doors closed, which is unfortunate during the prettiest time of the year, but it will help.
“[Second] is taking antihistamines. Almost all antihistamines are now available over the counter, but people need to at least speak to their physician about what medicine to take because many have decongestants in them and patients don’t need to be exposed to those. [The third] is go see an allergist.”
Morrow said allergists can offer some treatments that desensitize a person to pollen, though the treatments have offered various degrees of success.
He also said keeping a home’s HVAC unit running with a clean filter will help some.
To track pollen counts, visit weather.com/forecast/allergy.