Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Who's Got a Case of the Sniffles?

It seems like everyone was suffering from some sort of sneezing, coughing, or runny nose spell at this morning's meeting here at WTOL. I did my best to keep my distance, until everyone found that they had something in common... Allergies. Immediately, several curious sets of eyes turned to me for answers. Well folks, here ya go.

While pollen levels are not at their peak, several factors are going into the role allergens are playing this summer. An allergy forecast discussion on says:
"The pollen levels for Thursday will remain relatively stable in the high range. The pollen producing plants are delivering a fairly constant level of pollen into the air."

During my time spent in Georgia, i was able to learn a lot about pollen and the havoc it wreaks on the entire southern region.

Yikes. Check out that haze.

While working in Macon, i spoke with an allergist (for stories and my own personal well being!) and his little nugget of information that i always refer back to is that rain is the enemy for pollen and allergens. The more it rains, the clearer our air is because showers knock allergens out of trees and 'wash-out' our atmosphere, so to speak. So the day after a good rain shower is always a good day for allergy sufferers. Two to three days later, the allergens return, and we're left with a haze of green and an increased concentration of allergens. You can see the evidence of that indicated on our pollen chart. Up until Saturday, we're experiencing high levels of pollen. Saturday brings us the next chance of rain, so we're looking at a more moderate concentration.

Also, allergen types can affect different people in different ways. Grass is a number one allergen and it's present all summer long. other types, such as Chenopods and Nettle (which are currently high in concentration) can only appear at certain times of the year, giving some folks a real problem only for a few weeks at a time.

Taking a larger view, across the US, you can see how clearly our region sits right in the thick of it.

So for now, grab an extra handful of tissues and prepare for some allergen infused weather.