For people that suffer from seasonal allergies, the arrival of spring is dreaded for one reason: pollen. Every year, people look to the pollen index and forecast to decide whether or not they want to leave their homes. Pollen can cause allergy and asthma symptoms to worsen. It is important to know the pollen count to avoid health complications.
What is Pollen?
Pollen is the yellow-green powdery substance produced by flowering plants or cones. During the spring, wind and birds assist the pollination process by carrying pollen from plant to plant. As the trees bloom and pollination occurs, seasonal allergies begin to flare. Every year, 35 million Americans have pollen-related upper respiratory symptoms.
What are Pollen Counts?
During the spring, news stations often broadcast pollen forecasts. These forecasts will include the pollen count, the severity of the pollen count from low to extremely high, pollen types and an advisory for those affected by seasonal allergies. A pollen count is an index of the number of grains of pollen in the air per cubic meter.
Pollen count is higher on windy days because the wind picks up pollen and carries it through the air. Pollen count is lower on rainy days because the rain washes away the pollen. People with allergies can use the pollen count to help manage their allergy symptoms.
Pollen in Atlanta
Atlanta’s pollen count is usually high in the spring since Atlanta is a “city in a forest”. Often, seasonal allergies flare before spring begins because Atlanta’s warm weather sometimes cause trees and flowers to bloom earlier than normal.
How Pollen Affects Allergies
Pollen is an allergen, which means the immune system sees it as a foreign invader. When pollen counts increase during the spring, the immune system releases antibodies that attack the pollen. Histamine is released as a result of this process, triggering the following allergy-related symptoms:
- Runny or itchy nose
- Burning, itching or watery eyes
- Itchy skin, rashes or hives
- Congested sinuses
- Stomach ache
Spring can be a stressful time for those with seasonal allergies when Atlanta’s pollen count is high. If you suffer from seasonal allergies, schedule an allergy appointment at Atlanta ENT before spring is here.