first_img“The pollen count today is in the ‘miserable’ range,” said the host of amorning TV program.Miserable, indeed.Big, yellow clouds of pollen misery coat cars, irritate eyes and aggravate allergies.”We have an explosion of pollen in spring. Then everything will settle backdown,” said Pam Griggs of the Atlanta Allergy Clinic, one of two certified pollencounters in Georgia.”Because we had such a late spring, everything bloomed at once,” Griggs said.”Most trees and grasses are coming out now.”To measure the pollen in the air, the clinic uses a special sampler that raises asilicone-greased rod into the air. After 24 hours the rod is removed and examined under amicroscope to get the pollen count.Atlanta, and most of Georgia, blew through the top of the pollen-count charts on April16. More than 3,400 particles per cubic meter of air were reported in north Georgia.During the first week of April the highest count was 332. And that could cause severeproblems. In the spring, Griggs said, pollen counts of zero to 30 are considered low.Counts of 30-60 are moderate, 60-120 high and anything over 120 extremely high.”We are blessed with trees in Georgia, and pollen is just a part of theirreproduction,” said Carroll County Extension Director Don Morris.”Pollenparticles are the male spores of flowers. Trees depend on wind to distribute the pollenduring flowering.”This simple act of nature causes itchy, watery eyes, sore throats and some respiratoryirritation in allergy sufferers.”Pine pollen, the yellow pollen you see, shows up more but isn’t as much a problemfor allergy sufferers as others like oak pollen,” Morris said.Can you escape the pollen invasion?”This is certainly no time to air out your house,” said Dale Dorman, anExtension housing specialist. “Keep your house closed and turn on the air conditionerfor ventilation.”But just keeping the doors and windows closed may not be enough.”There’s really no effective way to keep pollen out of a house,” Dorman said.”You just have to take steps to reduce it.” Even humidity affects the amount of pollen finding its way inside.”When the relative humidity is low, the dry conditions make pollen float around inthe air,” Dorman said. “Turning on a humidifier will help make thoseparticulates fall out of the air and give you cleaner air inside your home.”Air filters on heating and cooling systems also can help filter out pollen. “It’s just something that we’re going to have to put up with until the first ofJune,” Dorman said.last_img