Florida allergy season: An increase in pollen is expected

For those residing in or visiting Florida, the state renowned for its perpetual sunshine and lush landscapes, there’s an important but less pleasant aspect to note: the prolonged allergy season. Unlike the transient allergy periods experienced in colder regions, Florida’s warm climate fosters nearly year-round blooming of flowers and plants, resulting in continuous production of pollen.

This constant floral activity spells extended periods of discomfort for allergy sufferers, who may find little reprieve from symptoms like runny noses and itchy eyes. As noted by Max Defender 8 Meteorologist Amanda Holly, Florida is currently experiencing a late-winter pollen surge, indicating that the season is just beginning to intensify.

The peculiarities of this year’s winter in Florida, often described as “weird,” can largely be attributed to the El Niño climate pattern, which began last summer. Characterized by its trade winds, El Niño brought cooler, rainier weather to the southeastern United States.

This shift in climate has delayed the typical blooming schedules of early-blooming trees, which are now starting to release pollen simultaneously.

Dr. Mark Glaum, an allergy specialist and professor at the University of South Florida, points out that the state is witnessing high concentrations of oak, pine, and cedar tree pollens. These are common triggers for allergy symptoms. Additionally, Florida’s humid climate naturally supports mold growth, but the prevalence of mold spores has been exacerbated by the season’s excessive rainfall.

The intertwining of delayed tree blooming and yet-to-start weed and grass pollination suggests that the state is on the brink of a pollen peak, with various types of pollen reaching their highest levels concurrently. This simultaneous peaking, as Meteorologist Holly mentions, is unusual and means that allergy sufferers should brace for potentially worsened conditions in the coming weeks.

Adding to the local woes, a 2023 report by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) has underscored the severity of the situation in Florida, naming seven of its cities as “allergy capitals of America.”

This designation reflects not only the immediate impacts of seasonal changes but also the broader implications of climate change. Warmer states like Florida have been experiencing exacerbated seasonal allergies for decades, a trend that AAFA researchers attribute to global warming.

In light of these developments, Floridians and visitors alike are advised to take proactive measures to mitigate allergy symptoms. This could include staying informed about pollen forecasts, maintaining indoor air quality, and seeking medical advice for managing symptoms effectively.

As the state grapples with its extended allergy season, understanding and preparedness can make a significant difference in navigating this challenging period.

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