Mild winter leading to early pollen - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Mild winter leading to early pollen

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

All the offices of the Chattanooga Allergy Clinic have been busy lately. With pollen counts near 400 at one point, extremely heavy for winter, the phones have been ringing off the hook. The main culprit is tree pollen.

"We're getting upwards of 40 to 50 patients a day that are calling to make new appointments," says Dr. Marc Cromie. "[People] that have never been seen at Chattanooga Allergy Clinic."

He's been seeing patients of all ages since a lot of people are spending more time outdoors during the warm afternoons. Cromie says if you're sensitive to outdoor pollen, don't get behind the eight ball. Start taking over-the-counter steroid-based nasal sprays until you can get to an allergist.

"Start your daily antihistamines, whether it's Allegra or Claritin. Get on the nose sprays which are readily available," adds Cromie.

He also says don't forget eye drops and shots.

Alyssa Steele's allergies got worse about a year ago.

"I'm allergic to a lot of tree pollen, grass, dog dander, cat dander, molds," says Steele.

Regular treatments at the clinic have helped her get on with life.

"I started getting shots once a week and they have helped a lot. I've had zero infections since then," adds Steele.

Cromie says seeing an allergist can help you avoid the misery.

"We'll probably see a long season that might go into May," warns Cromie.

Aside from allergies, you may have planted early this winter. Craig Walker at the Barn Nursery says beware of late-season cold snaps. They can turn your green thumb to a frosty white.

"If we were to get down in the 20s you might get some foliage burn on this sage. Some of the coreopsis, you night get some foliage burn there," says Walker.

He's keeping these and other items under shelter for a while. Walker says don't plant tomatoes or peppers yet. He also says an easy way to protect your gardens against the next frost or freeze is to simply cover them. But don't use plastic.

"Use a fabric. An old blanket. An old sheet. Frost cloth. Something like that," explains Walker. He says you can buy frost cloth at the nursery.

Latest pollen counts available at wrcbtv.com and at the Air Pollution Control Bureau.

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