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ATLANTA -- Have you been sniffling and coughing? How could it be allergies when it's been so cold outside? Some point to a medical phenomenon called "priming."

"That one is definitely birch, and it's a trigger." Outside the Atlanta Allergy and Asthma clinic in Marietta, Dr. Fineman points to allergy red flags. They're white and poofy.

Fineman says we're not headed for a record-breaking pollen season like the one that left Atlanta in a cloud of yellow dust last year. This spring should be more typical.

"The difference is this year we had very high pollen counts in January," he said.

Now a cold spell is hitting metro Atlanta, and the pollen counts go down. The count reported Sunday was only ten. When the weather warms, those numbers will rapidly increase. It creates the phenomenon called "priming."

"If you go away from the exposure, you can get better. But when you're re-exposed, you can get an even more violent reaction," Dr. Fineman says. He also says an allergic reaction could set in at lower pollen levels.

He suggests using this cold weather spell to find out exactly what's setting off your allergies. For some allergies, you can start taking medication now to ease the symptoms once the weather warms.

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