Pollen Season in the South

It’s incredibly irritating, prevents us from comfortably enjoying the outdoors, and follows us everywhere. Can you guess what it is? Yep, it’s pollen. As Spring quickly approaches, so does the ever so loving allergy season. Make sure to stock up on soft tissues and allergy medications because it looks like it’s gonna be one rough season.

For those who struggle with seasonal allergies, symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose and itchy eyes may have already begun. That’s because the pollen season has come early this year. As of Friday, a high concentration of tree pollen was detected in Savannah, GA  and a moderate concentration was detected in Charleston, SC, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology’s National Allergy Bureau.

Supposedly, allergy season has hit the Sunshine State pretty hard, as it is already the most miserable in the country. Allergy experts say oak trees are to blame. As soon as the leaves drop, the plant starts to bloom and begin emitting tons of pollen into the air. However, the trees didn’t bloom until recently because of the frigid weather we had earlier in the year. But when the heat finally rolled around, the blooming all began at once.

“They’re bad; they’re catastrophically bad,” said Dr. Richard F Lockey, director of South Florida’s Division of Allergy and Immunology about the oak trees. “Suddenly huge numbers of trees are blooming at one time, and I think it’s going to be a shorter season but a much more violent season, there’s going to be much more pollen in the air,” Lockey said.

This statement can be reinforced by Pam Knox, an agricultural climatologist with the University of Georgia, who said, “The cold temperatures provide that dormancy that we really lacked the last couple of years. And the wet conditions, of course, have been good because the trees are well-watered going into the season.

So they’re ready to produce a lot of flowers and a lot of pollen with that.” Ultimately Knox is predicting a worse than usual pollen season, just like Lockey. And while that might mean headaches and runny noses if you have allergies, Knox says it’s actually a good sign.

“The ecosystem is in a pretty good shape going into this growing season, and that’s not only for trees like pine trees but should be good for agricultural purposes,” she said. While you may temporarily be suffering from allergy season, in the end it will be worth it to ultimately help our ecosystem


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