June 9, 2020
Tampa Bay Allergies: What You Need To Know
When you have an allergy it means your body’s immune system sees harmless substances like plant pollen, dust mites, mold or pet dander, as infectious invaders. Your antibodies start trying to fight off the allergen, treating it like a virus, which can trigger many different symptoms that you experience as allergies.
Many people are drawn to the Tampa Bay area, and Florida in general, for its beautiful weather. With temperatures that rarely drop below 60 degrees, people can enjoy an abundance of outdoor activities year-round. Unfortunately, the same features that make Tampa Bay so appealing also make it difficult for those that suffer from allergies.
Most Common Allergies in Tampa Bay
Florida’s beautiful weather also makes it one of the few states that can have some allergens, particularly grasses, weeds and molds, pollinating or, in the case of molds, sporulating year-round. Still, there are some allergens that are more prevalent during certain times of year and understanding your specific triggers and when they are strongest can help you better plan outdoor activities and reduce symptoms.
When it comes to Florida you might think your biggest allergy concerns when it comes to trees would be palm trees however that is actually not the case! Palm trees are not considered a significant allergen. Furthermore, although in most parts of the United States, tree allergies start in February and peak in the spring, in Tampa Bay allergy season can start and peak much earlier.
Oak is the most prevalent tree pollen in the state of Florida and, in Tampa Bay, oak season can start as early as December and runs through May with it’s peak in February/March.
Bayberry (another significant tree allergen in Florida) has a similar pattern to Oak. Though the fruit of the bayberry is prized for its scent, many people are sensitive to the smell.
Cypress and Pine are two other abundant tree species in the state. Their season also starts as early as December and runs through April/May.
Elm and Sycamore trees are also common in Florida but have distinct pollination periods in our state. The American Elm blooms in January whereas the Chinese Elm blooms in October and the Sycamore in March.
Other Environmental Allergies
Trees are not the only source of allergens for Tampa Bay residents; weeds, grasses and molds can also aggravate allergies.
Ragweed is one of the biggest offending weeds in Florida and can be problematic year-round in our area depending on whether Tampa Bay experiences any freezes. It is most prevalent from May through November. Other prevalent weeds are Dog Fennel and Lamb’s Quarters.
Grasses are another possible year-round offender peaking from April through mid-October in the Tampa Bay area. Bahia grass is the most abundant grass in Florida followed by Bermuda.
Molds peak in the summer months but are also a year-round allergen in the Tampa Bay area.
Common Allergy Symptoms in Tampa Bay
Allergies may be difficult to identify, since they often feel like a cold or even the flu. Common symptoms include:
● Runny nose or nasal congestion
● Scratchy throat
● Fatigue or difficulty sleeping
● Coughing or wheezing
Symptoms that are more likely to indicate allergies include:
● Itchy, stinging, and watery eyes
● Hives or rash where your skin came in contact with the allergen
● Dry, scaly skin
● Symptoms that change based on your surroundings
Not sure if your symptoms are allergies, cold, or flu? Check out our guide to help you tell the difference.
Tips to Control Your Allergies in Tampa
● Check the pollen forecast regularly
● Keep doors and windows closed during high pollen counts
● Remove shoes when coming inside your home and change your clothes immediately
● Change your indoor air filters every season
● Indoor-outdoor pets should be bathed or wiped down at least once a week
● Backpacks, purses, and other bags that are carried around outside should be left in home entryways, and never brought into the bedroom
● Pollen counts are the highest in the early morning, so avoid staying outdoors during these times
● Wash rugs, curtains, and bedding regularly during allergy season
● If you are allergic to any trees on your property, keep branches trimmed to reduce pollen production
Allergies shouldn’t have to keep you from enjoying the beauty and climate of Tampa Bay! At Aspire Allergy & Sinus, our specialists are trained and experienced in testing, diagnosing, and treating outdoor allergies. Stop depending on short-term, over-the-counter solutions, and request an appointment today!