Ah, beautiful North Georgia in the Spring what could be better? The birds, the bees, the flowers, the trees and don't forget the pollen.
I moved here 20 years ago and absolutely love it. We get all 4 seasons and most of the time the temperatures don't go to far into the extremes. Spring is one of the most beautiful times of the year although the weather can be very unpredictable. Some Spring's it warms up gradually, others we have a day in the 90's and the next we have frost with thunder storms and tornado warnings always a possibility. The one thing we can always count on though is the pollen.
I honestly don't know how people with allergies make it through each year. No one in my family has ever been tested and proven to have allergies but in the Spring even we feel it. Itchy watery eyes, scratchy throats, runny noses and coughs are all popular ailments. The Atlanta Allergy Clinic has a chart to track the pollen count that is posted on news casts every night and ranks the amount of pollen particles per meter of air. This is what the chart looks like:
Pollen Count Chart
0-30 = Low
31-60 = Moderate
61-120 = High
120+ = Extremely High
The pollen count that was measured today was 5733. If anything above 120 is extremely high, what does that make a count of 5733?
The worst of our pollens is the pine pollen which turns everything a lovely shade of yellow. I will attach a picture of my car that was taken a few hours after it was washed off to show an example of this. For the allergy suffers pine is usually just a minor problem because it is big and you can actually see it. It's all those that are floating in the air that you can't see that are the real culprits for allergy sufferers and the list of which ones are the highest changes daily and can be anything from grass to weeds to trees.
So what can you do about it? Well for some with the most severe allergies the only choices is to take your medications and stay inside as much as possible until the things you are allergic to pass. When you do go outside, be sure to change your clothes and shower when you return from being outdoors so that you can wash away any pollen you bring inside with you. Keep your doors and windows closed, run your air condition and change the filters in it often adding a HEPA air purifier to the rooms where you spend the most time would also be a good investment. Don't forget about pets as well. If your animals go outside, pollen can and will stick to their fur and they will bring it inside your home. Be sure to bathe and brush your animals regularly to get as much of it off them as possible. For those with moderate allergies, taking their medication and limiting time out doors would be the best option. Like those with severe allergies you may also want to change clothes and shower when you come in from being outdoors to keep as much pollen out as possible. For those of us who are only slightly bothered with symptoms and don't want to miss the beautiful Spring weather we can either grin and bear or take an over the counter allergy medication to help us get through.
While the pollen season may be miserable for some some, we would not have the amazing array or flowers, trees and plants that we do without it. Springtime here in North Georgia is one of the most beautiful sites you will ever see but if are passing through and have allergies, make sure you bring your allergy medications and come prepared.
Update On Apr 18, 2010: I originally wrote this article over a week ago and forgot to publish it. Since then the pollen count has gone down and the last officical reading on Friday was 1253 which is still really high according to the chart but way better than the over 5, 000 we had not long ago.