Pollen seasons overlap affects allergies

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Jacksonville is one of the worst pollen cities in the country, and this season, allergies are expected to be even worse than usual in the River City.

February freezes pushed back the spring tree pollen season, which peaked in March and now is overlapping with the grass pollen season that typically starts in late April and lasts until October.

Allergy Dr. Sunil Joshi said this time of year there's a little less tree pollen and a lot more grass pollen. He said golf courses and football fields pollinate more this time of year and cause lot of allergy problems, people just can't see that pollen.

"I'm allergic to grass, animals, trees," said Kenneth Ray, who cuts grass in St. Johns County. "I actually wear a respirator."

Ray is also getting allergy shots every two weeks.

"Pretty prolonged season anyway, but when we have that overlap in late April, early May, it can be really miserable for people," Joshi said.

Jacksonville is once again on record as one of the worst pollen cities in the country.

"You're going from a major city in Tallahassee all the way to Jacksonville with nothing but pine trees and oak trees and hickory trees, and all of that pollinates," Joshi said. "And the pollen can fly over 500 mph at a time. So the way winds blow and fronts come through, all of that is blowing towards Jacksonville always."

Joshi recommends people prone to allergy problems be proactive by taking allergy relief medicine before symptoms start.

"It's much harder to treat once they come out than it is to prevent them from coming out in the first place," he said.

Ray has another remedy.

"I just try to stay as much as possible on the beach and spend most of my time there instead of grassy areas," he said.

Joshi recommends people who know they have allergy problems each year take over-the-counter allergy relief medicine first. If symptoms persist, see a doctor. It could be something else like a sinus infection, bronchitis, asthma or pneumonia.

If it's allergies, you may need prescription medication or allergy shots.

Copyright 2014 by News4Jax.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.