Forget blooming buds or kelly-green grass. If you suffer from seasonal allergies, it's probably pollen pods that have you double-checking your calendar.
"This weekend, a lot of pollen was in the air, but with the wind I think that's what put it into the super-high range, and why people have suffered recently as much as they have," said allergist Dr. Jose Dominguez.
Dominguez says this year is shaping up to be a serious allergy season. Oaks and grass are in full bloom early, thanks to an unusual winter.
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"We've had a few years with exceptional warmth and I think that when you have that for an extended period of time, that pollen just keeps on and it really builds up," Dominguez said Monday.
You've probably already noticed that thick green dust coating your car. U.S. Auto Spa on Kennedy Boulevard in Tampa says the bloom caused business to double over the weekend.
"All the cars are green and obviously they have to come here to get all the pollen off," said U.S. Auto Spa's Vick Gonzalez.
Gonzalez says the sooner you wash it off, the better.
"The pollen fades out the clear coat on the car," he said.
Pollen can be damaging to your health, too. Experts say seasonal allergies can quickly escalate into a cold or even bronchitis. The best way to skirt a symphony of sneezing? Avoid pollen altogether.
"Driving with the car windows up. When you go outside on the porch on the weekends, spraying it down," Dominguez said.
While over-the-counter treatments can help keep some of the blooming-blues at bay, it's best to head to an allergist if seasonal symptoms are smothering you this spring.
"Don't wait until it's too late and you then need antibiotics and other therapies that are much more aggressive," Dominguez said.
Unfortunately, the high pollen counts are likely to stick around for a while. Allergists say the spring pollen season subsides in late May.
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