Attack of the Allergies

Scott Holstein

Don’t be surprised this spring if your sneezing goes out of control. Local allergists say a long winter and late spring could mean an intense pollen season in Tallahassee.

“The later it is, the more pollen is in the air at one time,” says Dr. Rand Malone. “Symptoms will be more intense because you’re getting more pollen in your nose and eyes at one time.”

The major allergy-inducing pollen producers in Tallahassee are our beloved live oak trees, followed by pecan trees and wax myrtle. (The crepe myrtle, shown in the photo, does not usually cause problems and is suggested for allergy-free gardens.)

What makes Tallahassee a more allergy-prone place to live is its temperate weather, which allows pollinating plants from various climes to flourish. This can cause problems for people who, for example, come up from South Florida to go to college.

“A limited number of things can grow down there, but here we have everything,” says Dr. Brian Wilson.

There are a host of over-the-counter and prescription medications such as antihistamines and nasal sprays (of the steroidal and non-steroidal variety) available to fight symptoms. And if that doesn’t work, allergy shots treat the symptoms and prevent new allergies from developing.

If your sneezing fits keep you up at night or keep you from enjoying your life, you want to pay a visit to an allergy specialist. In most cases you don’t need a referral, Malone says.

“From a quality of life issue, it’s one of the biggest things we can do that matters over the years,” he says.

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