Pollen count “schizophrenic,” according to allergist

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CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) — Wednesday’s pollen count reached over 3,500 which is considered extremely high.

While you might think the rain helps alleviate the pollen, one allergist says the heavy rain from last year is actually making the problem worse.

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There’s no exact date when the pollen go away. The rain Chattanooga is expecting this week will help bring the count down some.

However, its Masters week, and according to Dr. Marc Cromie with the Chattanooga Allergy Clinic, this is the peak time for pollen.

“Every morning, I come into work, drink a bottle of water and take my allergy meds,” Billy Henry says.

Spring is in full bloom here in Chattanooga, and so are many people’s allergies.

Pollen count is considered high anything above 120. Wednesday’s count hit 3502.

“We are just record number of patients calling in to be seen. Last year our spring season wasn’t as crazy as it is now, and I think part of it is we’ve had such a huge amount of rain that our pollen counts have initially in February started to show themselves. Then it rained all through the month of February and early March, and now led to April blossoming of these trees,” Dr. Cromie said.

Videos and pictures have gone viral showing this year’s pollen.

A photographer in North Carolina captured this yellow haze over Durham.

A helicopter stirred up tree pollen in Troup County, Georgia.

And right here in Hixson, a tree company filmed the pollen escaping a falling tree.

“Immediately my throat started itching just watching it,” Henry said.

“[I’d] probably [be] running and hiding, jumping in my car, something of that sort, because that would kill me,” Hunter Evett said.

But that yellow might not be as evil as allergy sufferers think.

“The stuff that you see precipitating on your car is typically heavier pollen. The size of the pollen is so large that it doesn’t seem to get into our sinus cavities and into our nasal mucus much. So all the stuff that you see on the cars is just a sign of what is in the air that we can’t see,” Dr. Cromie said.

That invisible pollen is what drives up the pollen count.

“This year’s pollen count is schizophrenic. I mean with all the rain we’ve had it’s 0 and now it’s 4,000. I don’t know if it’s going to be astronomical again. For us I think our pollen season has just started maybe two weeks ago. So it may not be as long of a season as last year, but it sure is hitting hard right now,” Dr. Cromie said.

Dr. Cromie says to make sure your brush off your dogs or other animals that come inside, because that invisible pollen can get lodged in their fur.

And as for the popular local honey trick… Dr. Cromie says eating a teaspoon a day won’t hurt, but it doesn’t help. That pollen is flower pollen, which again is too thick for us to be allergic to.