Pollen Peril: Allergy season could turn into a sneezefest

Ah, Jacksonville. known for its beaches, trees, and of course…dreaded pollen seasons.

Of the three major trees going into pollen overdrive over the next few months, oak, pine, and palm, are the culprits with oak ranking highest in our region.

Last year pollen hit early because of the warm temperatures in February and March. This pollen season may become even worse.

While it’s only the beginning of February, springtime allergies are on the horizon. Jacksonville only had 3 freezes in January and none are expected over the next couple weeks.

Milder temperatures will coincide with longer daylight hours to bring a likely early start to the growing season.

The milder winters mean fewer freeze events, which normally kill off some pollen-producing plants.

But not this year. The early beginning is triggering earlier pollen release, extending the “allergy window” and increasing cumulative exposure. This means more sniffles for a longer stretch.

Breezy weather in allergy season may make you feel sick or lead to itchy eyes and runny sinuses. High winds are coming this weekend followed by a stronger Nor’easter next week.

Rain is coming in Sunday and Monday and while rain tends to lower pollen counts by cleansing the air, some people suffer more from “thunderstorm asthma” when heavy downpours rupture pollen grains, releasing more allergenic components into the air.

What can you do:

Minimize exposure: Stay indoors when pollen counts are high, especially during mornings and after thunderstorms.

Seal your home: Use air purifiers and HEPA filters to trap pollen indoors.

Talk to your doctor: Consider allergy testing and discuss medication options for managing your symptoms.

By understanding the factors at play and taking proactive measures, you can arm yourself against the pollen onslaught and enjoy the beauty of North Florida without sacrificing your well-being. Remember, knowledge is power – and a powerful decongestant in this case!

Additional resources:

Current Pollen levels: https://pollen.aaaai.org/#/station/7a2c0906-98c6-45c0-8c57-b221f71c95ed

Jacksonville Allergy & Asthma Specialists: https://www.jaxallergy.com/forms/

National Allergy & Asthma Foundation: https://www.aaaai.org/

Florida Climate Institute: https://floridaclimateinstitute.org/

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