We don't need any fancy equipment to know there's an epic pollen problem this year.
Pollen from oak flowers like these could be the source of your sneezing.
Pollen from oak flowers like these could be the source of your sneezing. iStockphoto.com
Every flat surface around the house is covered in greenish yellow dust. Every eye in the place is a bloodshot red.
How bad is it? In Atlanta, a recent pollen count registered 5,733, the second-highest level ever. The usual bar for high pollen levels is set at 120, so hitting the thousands is pretty much through the roof and to the the moon.
Folks are flocking to their doctors, especially in the Southeast, USA Today reports. You can start by blaming oak trees, if you live in that part of the country, according to the Associated Press.
Ten pollen particles in a cubic meter of air is enough to trigger an allergic reaction in susceptible people. Oak trees can crank out 3,000 to 6,000 pollen particles per cubic meter, the AP says.
A cold winter delayed pollination for trees in some parts of the county, and now with a burst of warm weather they're all coming out with a vengeance. ABC News has a roundup here.
"It's the worst I've seen in 10 years," Dr. William Storms, an allergist and professor at University of Colorado in Denver, told the AP.
If you think allergies are just a nuisance, check out this report from NPR's Joanne Silberner on Monday's Morning Edition. Some 90 percent of the 4 million to 5 million kids with asthma in the U.S. also suffer from allergies. And untreated allergies are an often overlooked factor that leads to asthma attacks severe enough to land children in the hospital.