COLUMBUS, Ga. — Anyone planning to spend a considerable amount of time outside might want to consider the effect high pollen counts have on their immune system. News 3 spoke with an allergist who suggests ways to combat the active allergy season. With Spring finally in the air, so is a variety of pollen. Doctors say a warmer winter caused more pollen to abound earlier in the year.
Dr. Robert Cartwright, M.D. at The Allergy Center at Brookstone says the number of people that deal with allergies has increased over time. He says extreme weather changes, as well as leading cleaner lives lead to the immune system overreacting to pollen and other allergens.
“We try to close windows as best we can,” Dr. Cartwright said. “We try not to let the air re-circulate in the car from outside if you can help it. But ultimately, the best step is to stay regular with medicines and help try to prevent issues. If the allergy issues persist, we can talk about allergy shots, which can be a very helpful treatment for people as well.”
Dr. Cartwright says a runny nose, itchy eyes, and sneezing are common symptoms of pollen allergies. He adds that if left unchecked, allergies could lead to sinus infections or severe flares of asthma. The pollen count reached about 1,200 Monday. Dr. Cartwright says anything high is over 100. And it’s only the first day of Spring.
Pollen persists year round. But some of the highest counts happen in the spring, when many plants reproduce. Grass pollen is particularly abundant in the summer. The fall season produces more weed pollen.