Pollen makes an early return to the Tennessee Valley - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Pollen makes an early return to the Tennessee Valley

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

Spring fever is in the air even though it's only late February. Many people have been getting outdoors, enjoying warm temperatures in the 70s. However, if you've been sneezing or wheezing it's probably not because of the flu. It's tree pollen.

Ann Levine has been allergic to pollen for a few years. She started noticing symptoms after moving to a neighborhood near a wooded area.

"Runny nose, runny eyes, coughing. Feeling really kind of miserable," says Levine.

She decided to see Dr. Todd Levine at the Chattanooga Allergy Clinic to find out more.

"They did skin testing and found out I was allergic to a lot of things," adds Levine.

She was also diagnosed with mild asthma. She began treatment and has kept her allergies and asthma under control.

Pollen levels on Tuesday were seven times higher than on Monday. Dr. Levine urges people who are allergic to start back on their medications now. This way the early-season pollen bloom won't catch their bodies off guard.

"We just have more flora than any other area, and we live in a bowl. So what does grow here stays here," says Levine.

He also says continue your allergy shots.

"[They] retrain your immune system and get to the root cause, and can, in fact, cause long-term relief," explains Levine.

For even more relief, avoid tracking pollen indoors as much as possible. Start by taking off your shoes before entering your home. Keep windows closed in your car and at home. Finally, keep yourself and your pets squeaky clean.

"Take showers at night to wash the pollen off of yourself," says Levine. "Don't let the pets in bed. The pets that are outside will bring the pollen inside."

Levine went a few steps further to stay healthy.

"We had to get special filters for our air conditioning system, and special covers for pillows and comforters," says Levine.

Tuesday's pollen count was 481. Anything higher than 120 this time of year is considered "extremely heavy". The Chattanooga-Hamilton County Air Pollution Control Bureau measures pollen levels each morning Monday through Friday. You can check the results on WRCBtv.com and in the WRCB apps.

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