Allergens cause false alarm for fire officials

Published: Feb. 19, 2014 at 1:07 AM EST|Updated: Aug. 5, 2016 at 10:32 PM EDT
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THOMASVILLE, GA (WALB) - When firefighters responded to a call about smoke coming from the Thomas County Head Start building, they figured where there was smoke there had to be fire.

"We arrived on scene, we didn't see anything showing so we went into investigation mode," said fire official Tim Connell.

What officials found wasn't a fire, but something firefighters aren't really certified to explain.

"They probably saw what we call little parachutes and they occur from trees like Aspens and Willows. They're white, not quite pollen but they function just the same," said Dr. Lorraine Williams.

Firefighters say they have never had a call turn out quite like this before. "At first the pollen was white and the tree was right next to the building, it really looked like smoke," said Connell.

No smoke this time, just allergens that could cause a reaction. Dr. Williams has been seeing an early flare-up in seasonal allergies in patients. Typically flowers would began to bloom in March but the wetter than normal south Georgia conditions are switching a few things around.

"We've had what has been unusual weather for the last several months, we've had a lot of rain in southern Georgia, a lot of things are bearing fruit that aren't normally bearing so early so we've had a rash of early allergies," said Dr. Williams.

Brielle Underwood says that she knows Spring time is here when she starts sneezing and her eyes get itchy but this year has been different, "it's happened a little bit early, earlier than usual," said Underwood.

If you feel that your allergies are getting the best of you, you aren't alone. Over the counter medicine and nasal rinses may help. If it becomes too much to deal with, you might need to see an allergist.

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