OAAC issues ‘Very High Alert’ for tree pollen

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OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma Allergy and Asthma Clinic has issued a ‘Very High Alert’ for tree pollen.

“These are tree allergies, like pollen and stuff. These are nuts; that’s peanut. These are dusts,” 11-year-old Henry Windham said as he got tested by allergists on Tuesday at the Oklahoma Allergy and Asthma Clinic. “I get a runny nose and some drainage, and it makes me cough a lot.”

Those are all symptoms that doctors said can be caused by the very high level of tree pollen in the air right now.

“Right now, the tree pollen has gotten really, really high, considered a very high range, and it’s primarily from the Oak as well as the Mulberry pollen,” Dr. Dean Atkinson with the OAAC said.

Atkinson said both of those have been pretty high in recent weeks, with this week being the worst.

“Should peak tomorrow, you know, if it rains, it’ll certainly knock some of that pollen out of the air for people. But, unfortunately, when it rains, it also gets things to grow better,” Atkinson said.

OAAC’s board-certified allergists recommend washing your hands often, limiting your time outdoors when pollen counts are high, wearing a dust mask when doing outdoor tasks, not wearing outdoor work clothes in the house and cleaning and replacing furnace and air conditioner filters often.

“Unfortunately, for many people that live in Oklahoma, this is kind of a year-type thing. Every year, we get these high counts, and they make people very miserable,” Atkinson said.

If you’ve never been tested, a board-certified allergist can diagnose allergies and determine specific triggers that cause them.

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