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Atlanta breaks another pollen count record | News

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Atlanta breaks another pollen count record

ATLANTA -- Friday marks the 15th consecutive day Atlanta's pollen count has topped 1000, a new record. Friday's figure is 1275, high for mulberry, oak, pine and sycamore trees.

"Our weather conditions are sort of the perfect storm for keeping the counts high," said Dr. Kevin Shaffer of the Atlanta Allergy and Asthma Clinic, which counts the pollen daily. "We had this really benign winter, so it sort of cultivated this pollen nicely, and once it popped we haven't had a really big rain since."

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Last week, the region broke its highest pollen count on record - twice. Monday's count was a historic 8164. Tuesday's beat that at 9369.

While this week's pollen counts have been much lower, they've still stayed in the high and extremely high ranges.

"Just because it's not 9000, it doesn't mean people won't be miserable," Shaffer said. 

In fact, some people feel worse now than before. 

"There's a phenomenon called priming," Shaffer said. "Once you've been exposed to high numbers of pollen, even as it comes down, you still feel uncomfortable. It becomes more chronic, more severe."

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Luckily, there may be an end in sight for some allergy sufferers.

"The last few days we've started to see hickory and pecan tree [pollen]; those tend to be later in the season," Shaffer said. "Typically we see cedar and elm early in the season, then oak -- one of the worst offenders -- then pecan a little later."

"Sadly just as the tree [allergies] come down, the grass goes into peak," he added. "When we test people, they're usually allergic to both. So the misery can last for months."


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