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Thursday, January 27, 2022

Warm weather brings high pollen counts to Gainesville sooner

Four years ago, Aisha Robinson woke up with a purple nose. She said the doctor told her he’d only ever seen a nose that purple inside one of his textbooks.

Today, the 21-year-old UF criminology senior treats her allergies with medication to avoid the severe symptoms most UF students can expect because of the warmer weather.

Dr. John Harwick, assistant professor in the UF Department of Otolaryngology, said the warmer weather this year caused trees to pollinate sooner: in mid-January.

In fact, Gainesville is expected to have moderate pollen counts today and Wednesday, according to the Weather Channel’s PollenCast.

Harwick said pollen tends to stick to the ground on rainy days. But on windy days, pollen spreads easier. He said pollen counts tend to be highest between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m.

Harwick said tree-allergy season is ending and grass-allergy season is starting.

Common allergy symptoms are sneezing, and itchy, watery eyes and nose.

Solansh Hernandez, 20, said her allergy symptoms got worse when it was cold about two weeks ago.

“When it’s hot outside, it’s not as bad as when it’s cold and windy,” said the UF psychology and marketing sophomore.

Harwick recommends allergy treatments like saline nasal rinses and over-the-counter antihistamines.

He said people with allergies should keep their windows closed and limit their outdoor exposure.

Hernandez said she tries not to go outside.

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“I don’t consider myself an outsider,” she said. “I just can’t go backpacking or on adventures in the forest.”

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