Pollen, allergy season among us

Local allergist gives recommendations to ease allergy symptoms

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Pollen is something we deal with in Florida pretty much year round.

As you know, allergies do get worst in the spring, but allergists say what you may not know, is that the spring pollen season is already here.

Dr. Sunil Joshi, a local Allergist, said the spring pollen season here actually starts around the middle of January. This year, it was delayed a little bit because of all the freezes we've had, but only until the beginning of February. So if you haven't already seen it on your car, the yellow pollen is in our air.

The calendar shows winter goes until the end of March, but allergists say the calendar is misleading when it comes to spring pollen.

"A lot of people assume that spring pollen doesn't start until the end of March which may be true for other parts of the country especially in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states but not here. Our pollen starts in the winter," said Dr. Joshi.
Dr. Joshi is already treating people suffering from it.

"If the patients are generally doing worst early in the pollen season, that usually means it's going to be a long protracted allergy season for us and so far this year they seem to be doing worst then they were last year at this time," said Dr. Joshi.
Although it's hard to tell how bad the allergy season is until it's over, Dr. Joshi said it's not too late for you to be proactive this season.

Take medications ahead of time, even before the pollen hits you. If you know you're allergic, keep the windows of your home and vehicle shut so pollen doesn't come inside. Although the weather is ideal this time of year, minimize your time outside, if you are outside for an extended period of time, take a shower and change clothes when you get back in and don't dry clothes outside.

"The worst part of the year for us is that mid to late May, so as we get closer into the summer most people do better so these next two to three months are probably the most important time to be proactive with your allergies," said Dr. Joshi.

Dr. Joshi recommends taking Nasacort, an over the counter nasal steroid, to help with allergy symptoms, but not without warning you of the risks. It doesn't work immediately like an antihistamine, so it's important not to overuse.. It can take seven to 10 days for your symptoms to decrease. Dr. Joshi said it can cause nose bleeds especially if you use it for multiple seasons. He suggests talking with a doctor about it if you have any concerns.

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