One sign of spring in the Scenic City is that thick coating of yellow dust on everything.
The Tennessee Valley's been dealing with extremely heavy levels of pollen for several days now. Amber Boles, Air Pollution Control Bureau said, "Mostly right now is tree pollen. Today in fact the pollens are pine, poplar, elm, dogwood, hackberry, outer hickory, cedar, and pairs." The pollen in the air is measured daily on a scale between low, moderate, high and extremely heavy levels. Boles said, "Anything over 120 is going to be extremely heavy, and if you are allergic to pollen you are going to see some symptoms from that."
Dr. Susan Raschal with Covenant Allergy and Asthma Care says she is seeing a difference with this her patients and this season. Dr. Raschal said, "I'm seeing specificially this year more so than last, is a lot of eye symptoms and they may just be the patients that I'm seeing." She went on to say that pollen can effect both the upper and lower respiratory system. Dr. Raschal said, "If someone has allergy type symptoms which is usually itching of the eyes and one other area in the nose, ears or roof of the mouth, and they sneeze more than one time in a row it usually is suggestive of allergy." To control your pollen she suggests to control pollen exposure. There are also a number of ways to prevent allergy symptoms. Dr. Raschal said to first avoid the pollen and to also do normal saline rinses in your nose. Antihistamines can also be used, but if symptoms are presistant contact a doctor.
Representatives with the Air Pollution Control Bureau say that we always have a high period of pollen every spring. They also want to let everyone know that the left over pollen on the roads is called re-entrainment and raises no concern. Boles said, "Theres a lot of factors that go into it like how high its kicked up will depend on how far it spreads, so its really more of a localized problem. Like maybe just to a parking lot, so we are not concerned with that as far as causing a heavier pollen count."
Representatives say the tree pollen will stick around until the middle of May.