Zeroing in on the pollen count in Jacksonville, a local researcher has a unique perspective

It’s pollen season in Northeast Florida and that has a lot of people sneezing, coughing, rubbing their eyes and blowing their nose.

Pollen season also means a local researcher at Edward Waters University starts his work with a pollen counter to learn what pollen is triggering us and who is impacted.

Dr. Brian Seymour is using a new device but the research goes even further to determine health disparities.

“So our role is to actually monitor the pollen concentration particularly during the spring so that we can actually give early warning to the physicians, the doctors, the allergists and to the people in the community to let them know it is time you guys should be aware you should carry your medication your inhaler and so on because the pollen content is high and so that’s what we are doing,” Dr. Seymour said.

The study began three years ago, collecting samples of airborne pollen from a device on EWU’s campus, then examining those samples in a lab. Dr. Seymour is finding a patter in pollen data.

“For example, right now, what we are noticing is that the cedar comes out real early in the morning and by afternoon, the dominate pollen would be the pine at this point in time and so those are the two most prevalent pollen that’s occurring right now as we speak,” he said.

The study goes beyond just a warning about pollen but identifying health disparities. Dr. Seymour says there is a high rate of asthma among African Americans. By monitoring the environment, it could help find ways to bring down the high rate of asthma in the community. For now, medicine and being aware of the pollen will help keep the sneezing and coughing under control.

Dr. Seymour says Pine, Oak, Cedar and Elm are the problematic pollen in the community. This is the only station in northeast Florida that is monitoring the pollen and works with the national allergy bureau.

Dr. Seymour will be traveling this month to the annual meeting to present data to the national allergy bureau. The hope is that the study can continue for as long as possible and create a pollen calendar to help predict when pollen will be elevated

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