ORLANDO, Fla. – No rain, warm temperatures and wind: conditions that might make for a nice picnic in Central Florida.
Unfortunately, it’s also the recipe for a miserable pollen season.
If you live in Florida, new data from the nonprofit Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America shows your home may be near a “allergy capital” of the U.S.
Orlando ranked #8 on the list, which is based on pollen counts, over-the-counter medication use and the number of allergy physicians in the area in 2022.
Watch News 6+ in the player below for live news and original programming:
During a conversation on Talk to Tom, News 6 anchor and meteorologist Julie Broughton explained the intensity behind year’s tree, grass and weed pollen counts.
“When we’re talking about hot weather, it makes things bloom earlier,” Broughton said. “Allergy season and pollen season has gotten longer by about 20 days when you compare it to the last 30 years because our climate is getting warmer.”
According to the AAFA, the warmer temperatures get trapped in urban areas which is why populated southeastern U.S. cities like Sarasota and Cape Coral also see major health impacts from pollen season.
By the way — those aforementioned cities ranked above Orlando on AAFA’s list of “allergy capitals”.
“Ragweed can be carried by wind hundreds of miles so even if, say, ragweed’s not blooming in your area if it‘s blooming somewhere downwind from you then that could be coming into your area,” Broughton said.
Chief Meteorologist Tom Sorrells said he doesn’t really suffer from the classic seasonal allergy symptoms of itchy eyes, runny nose and sneezing.
But not all are so lucky.
“Yesterday, I looked like I was crying all day and I’m like ‘you know what, no eyeliner’ that’s how we’re going today,” Broughton said.
For those who suffer from asthma, experts say major pollen blooms can be life-threatening.
While there’s no cure for allergies, they can be managed with prevention and treatment. For example, plan any outdoor springtime activities for the later afternoon.
“[Blooms] actually peak in the morning hours,” Broughton said. “Also consider changing your [AC] air filters a lot because those allergens get caught in those filters. So, if they’re not clean, it can then circulate through your house.”
She also recommends taking a shower when you get home and giving your dog a quick wash before letting them inside or sleep in your bed.
Or, if you’re looking for an easier route, consider washing your pillowcases and sheets more often.
To learn more about pollen season and find out how News 6′s Julie Broughton started her journey into meteorology watch Talk to Tom Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. on the News 6+ Takeover and on the News 6+ app for your smart TV.