The arrival of spring brings daffodils, green buds on the trees, and a variety of pollens in the air that can lead to watery eyes and runny noses.
Spring is traditionally the worst time of year for pollen in the air, said Frank Watson, McDuffie County extension agent.
As plants and trees begin to bloom, sensitive individuals can suffer from a variety of problems including scratchy throats, itchy eyes and sneezing.
Experts say the problems vary from person to person.
"It really depends on the type of pollen that bothers you," Mr. Watson said.
"Now is probably the peak tree pollen time," said physician Vanitcha Pintavorn. Oak and Elm trees are major contributors, with Hickory and Pecan preparing to release pollen soon.
"A little later in the spring, pollen from grasses will become a problem for some people," Dr. Pintavorn added.
Levels of pollen remain high for the area, according to the web site www.pollen.com which gives fairly accurate information, said Dr. Pintavorn.
To get the pollen forecast, officials combine information on the levels of pollen being released from trees and plants and take into account a variety of factors such as temperature and wind to arrive at a single forecast using a scale of 0-12.
A forecast of 8 to 12 is high, Dr. Pintavorn said, and the number hovered between 10 and 11 last week despite some rainy weather that normally would wash some of the pollen away. Pollen is lower following a cleansing rain, and is usually worse on windy days because the air stirs up the pollen, she said.
Individuals sensitive to pollen will see an increase in symptoms during days of high pollen and on moderate days, 4.1-8.0 on the scale, they may suffer some symptoms. During a low day, 0 - 4.0, pollen will affect few people who suffer from allergies.
Individuals who suffer from pollen allergies can take some measures to help themselves, said Dr. Pintavorn, who is board certified in allergies and immunology.
"It is advisable that people who have bad allergies try not to have a lot of outdoor activity between 5 and 10 a.m.," she said, noting that the morning is the worst time of the day for pollen.
Those with allergies should see their physician, but it's also a good idea to watch the pollen forecast and be aware when it is high.
Other tips from experts include:
Wear a pollen mask while performing yard work
Shower and change clothes to remove pollen after outdoor work
Wipe the coats of outdoor pets when they come inside to remove pollen
Keep both home and car sealed, with windows closed and air re-circulating, to keep pollen from getting in
Replace furnace filters in the home regularly.
• Season of southern storms: Spring brings heavy rains, other severe weather to McDuffie County area