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High pollen count poses allergy risk for Georgians

Nearly one in three people suffer from allergies due to pollen in the United States / Daniel McFarland (WGXA)

MACON, Ga. -- Nearly one in three people suffer from allergies due to pollen in the United States.

Springtime is thought of as the worst time of year for those who have allergies and living in Georgia may have a few different factors that make it unique from other parts of the country.

Middle Georgia's pollen count typically peaks in mid-spring, but the allergy season is a year-round affair in Georgia.

The reason the area sees a jump in people suffering from allergies during spring is not only from the higher counts, according to Dr. David Plaxico of the Allergy and Asthma Clinic of Macon, but also due to a few other factors.

“People are out doing activities now," he said. "They are out at the Cherry Blossom Festival; they are playing sports. They are fishing, they are outdoors doing outdoor things--so they are more exposed to the allergens than when they were during the winter when they were indoors.”

When trees pollinate in the spring, that can cause allergic reactions. St. George University’s Steffeno Mottl M.D. says we also had a very mild winter which caused the pollen to come much earlier this year.

“Having a short winter allows for flowers and plants to be there longer therefore those levels of pollen and particles in the air are always in the air or higher in the air," he said.

Macon saw high pollen counts in early February which usually don’t arrive until March. During summer the pollen count starts to decrease. Despite a lower pollen count, Mottl said that ragweed which is one of the harshest allergens is in full bloom.

“The human body is not used to on a regular basis receiving all these types of pollen from all these different trees and Georgia is has everything," he said. "In that sense people who are not used to Georgia come here and it is easy for them to have a triggered response from the body.”

There are a few things Middle Georgians can do to avoid allergies. Along with taking medicine, Dr. Plaxico says it is important to plan your day around your allergies.

“They will try to do their activities later in the day because the pollen count is highest in the morning," he said. "So you see more pollen in the earlier part of the day and less of it is floating around in the evening.”

For the other two thirds of Middle Georgians who do not suffer from allergens, you may not be in the clear. Pulmonologists say allergies can begin to impact you during anytime in your life.

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