0

Atlanta-area pollen at highest levels ever

Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan According to the Atlanta Allergy and Asthma Clinic the pollen count was 8,164 on Monday, the highest ever recorded in metro Atlanta. Pollen gathers on a pine tree located in the Collins Hill Park in Suwanee.

Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan According to the Atlanta Allergy and Asthma Clinic the pollen count was 8,164 on Monday, the highest ever recorded in metro Atlanta. Pollen gathers on a pine tree located in the Collins Hill Park in Suwanee.

photo

Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan According to the Atlanta Allergy and Asthma Clinic the pollen count was 8,164 on Monday, the highest ever recorded in metro Atlanta. Pollen collects on the hood and windshield of a Mercedes-Benz parked in the Collins Hill High School parking lot.

LAWRENCEVILLE — Another day, another record-high pollen count.

Monday’s pollen count of 8,164 was the highest ever recorded in the Atlanta area, eclipsing the previous high by more than 35 percent. Tuesday’s mark of 9,369 shattered even that.

The original mark was 6,013, set on April 12, 1999.

“I couldn’t even sit down, I had to wipe (the seat) off with a napkin,” Georgia Gwinnett College student Marquel Neal Jr. said Tuesday, sitting on campus with a group of friends. “It’s ridiculous. My body’s itching from pollen. Is that possible?”

Added Dominique Huggins-Lee, succinctly: “It’s raining pollen.”

Dr. Kathleen Sheerin of the Atlanta Allergy and Asthma Clinic — which has several Gwinnett locations and serves as the only nationally certified pollen counting station in the metro area — said several factors were to blame for the area’s shared misery: the unseasonably warm temperatures, a lack of significant rain and the fact that metro Atlanta is filled with the hardwoods that typically produce the most pollen.

“You throw all those things together,” Sheerin said, “and it’s brought about the ‘blooming’ of all the trees all at once.”

The AAAC said Tuesday that pollen at current levels is likely to bother even those that don’t typically deal with seasonal allergies.

The dreaded yellow stuff likely isn’t going anywhere, either. Tuesday’s 10-day forecast included just one day with a greater than 20 percent chance of rain, and high temperatures between 75 and 83 degrees.

“It just makes it so you don’t even want to come outside,” GGC student Ariel Walton said. “It’s real bad.”

Sheerin offered a few tips for pollen allergy sufferers to keep in mind, in addition to medicine:

• Keep windows closed and turn on the air conditioning.

• If you spend a significant amount of time outside, take a shower and change clothes.

• “Pets are full of pollen.” If dogs or cats routinely go outside, try to wash them as frequently as possible.

• Change your home’s air filter.

• Pollen counts tend to be highest in the morning. Try to avoid outdoor activities until the evening.

• When the yellow stuff is gone, that doesn’t mean pollen season is over — the grass pollen is still coming.