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Pollen much worse in 2010
4 Pollen pic
John Samples of Dawson County cuts his lawn on a recent afternoon. He wore a dust mask “as a precaution” against pollen. - photo by Frank Reddy Dawson Community News

Barry Mann isn’t crazy about pollen.


“It makes me mad, you know,” Mann said. “You can’t wash your car, because as soon as you do, the pollen’s right back on it again.”


He said driving a dark-colored vehicle makes it worse.


“It’s like a magnet, and when it rains it ain’t a whole lot better,” he said. “Then, you get yellow mud ... and that’s just as nasty.”


The seasonal yellow dusting irritates, aggravates and baffles Dawson County residents, but it’s a natural fact of life this time of year.


“All flowering plants and trees cause pollen,” said Dr. Doug Olson, who works in the emergency room at Northside Hospital-Forsyth. “It’s a form of reproduction for plants. It’s what they do to survive.”


Some most affected by pollen are those who work outdoors, like landscaping contractor Ray Ziebell.


“It affects people different,” Ziebell said. “If someone’s used to working out in it, it’s not so bad. If you put somebody out there that’s used to working in an office, it might kill them.”


John Samples wasn’t taking any chances. He strapped on a dust mask before cutting grass in his front yard last week.


“Seems like it’s much worse this year,” Samples said. “Seems like it hit all at one time.”


Olson said it is, indeed, worse than usual.


“A lot more is expected this year, because of the amount of rain we had last year and the lack of rain right now to wash it away,” Olson said.


According to Atlanta Allergy and Asthma Clinic, Monday’s pollen count was 852. More than 120 is considered extremely high.


Olson said the hospital sees a high number of patients this time of year with complaints of itchy eyes, sneezing and runny noses.


He said there are many over-the-counter medications that work well in the battle against allergies, but a visit to the doctor may be in order if symptoms continue.


“The human body is so sensitive that it’s saying ‘this is abnormal, I don’t like it,’” Olson said. “You either have allergies to pollen or you don’t. Some people can walk around and breathe the stuff in all day and have no problems.”


Others, like Anna Dean, have big problems with it.


“My doctor’s got me on a couple different medications for it,” Dean said. “It’s still bad. though. It’s unreal.


“Just yesterday, I saw a big cloud coming my way, and I had to run.”


For Mann, it’s more of a visual intrusion than an ailment.


“It doesn’t affect me,” he said. “It doesn’t make me sneeze or cough or anything like that. I just think it’s ugly.”