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Wednesday May 6th, 2015 7:30AM

Allergy season is here as tree pollen increases

By Alyson Shields Reporter
GAINESVILLE - The cold weather is almost behind us, as Spring is just around the corner. But, with warmer weather comes pollen and with pollen comes allergies.

Dr. Ron Bebee, a doctor of allergy, asthma and immunology with the Longstreet Clinic in Gainesville, says the pollen was actually delayed slightly because of the cold weather.

"The tree pollen usually starts in mid-February in Georgia," said Dr. Bebee. "But with this colder weather we've had, it's just now getting going with the higher counts and people are just starting to have problems."

Bebee said those with severe allergies really should see an allergist all year long to keep pollen allergies in check. "We would much prefer to see [patients] all year and prepare for these pollen seasons," said Bebee. "If we know the pollen is coming - and in Georgia you know about when it's coming every year - we'll start medications ahead of time, treat through the season."

Bebee said for those with severe allergies, medication may be the only relief. But, for those with less severe allergies, small steps could help considerably, such as leaving the windows up in the car, but down at home, changing clothes when you come in from the outside and wearing a particle mask while doing yardwork, avoiding early morning activities when the pollen count is highest and being mindful of pets bringing in pollen and other allergens from the outside.
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