Lowcountry pollen counts high ahead of spring

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)- Storm Team 2’s tree pollen count was at a 10 out of 12 on Wednesday. On Tuesday it was at a nine. Those numbers will continue and may get worse over the next two months.

“What happens in December winter will remember and that’s not just the temperature. That sets the stage for growing season. Now we’re moving toward the peak of pollen season as we get through the middle of March and into the middle part of April,” said Josh Marthers, the Lowcountry’s Morning Meteorologist.

Marthers says that allergies will get worse with the rise in pollen levels. The pollen count for trees and grass will decrease in early May.

Rainfall will help those who have pollen allergies, but not for long.

“That rejuvenates the plant life too. You combine that with warm temperatures and you get more pollen in the coming days,” said Marthers.

Doctor Elizabeth Majeski of Allergy Partners says that there are options to mitigate your allergies to tree and grass pollen.

“For some people this can be as easy as taking an over the counter antihistamine. Some people prefer taking nose sprays which are also available over the counter. Some people even like to use sinus rinses or neti pots. These are different ways that can be used individually or together,” said Doctor Majeski.

But while yellow, dusty pollen starts to collect on cars and other surfaces, Doctor Majeski suggests starting your allergy medication routine this week.

“If you only use your medication as needed you’re never going to get the maximum benefits,” said Doctor Majeski. “Often once you start to see the yellow stuff on your car it’s too late.”

Compared to other years, this pollen season is expected to be worse because of the mild winter.

“The spring pollen has come early. Not only do you have early tree pollen. Grass pollen will start earlier,” said Doctor Majeski. “When you have the rainy season especially in March and April then you can end up with mold because of the decaying leaves and all of the working out in the yard.”

I you’re worried about whether you have allergies or COVID-19 Doctor Majeski says that having the same allergy symptoms as year’s past suggests that you don’t have the virus.

“If you take an antihistamine and your symptoms improve then that’s also a sign that goes along with your symptoms being due to seasonal allergies,” said Doctor Majeski. “But if you try those over the counter medicines and you’re not getting better, you’re feeling worse or you start to have a fever well then that’s definitely time to be concerned that you have COVID-19.”