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What Allergens Are High Right Now in Florida?

For many people in Florida, seasonal transitions come with more than just a change in wardrobe or new décor; it also means dealing with seasonal allergies. Some of the symptoms of these allergies are quite severe and may leave you feeling brutally under the weather for most of the season. These include acute sneezing, heavy and red eyes/eyelids, congestion, and a runny nose, just to name a few.

When seasonal allergies occur, they may hinder you from enjoying your life. In some cases, you may be forced to stay indoors most of the time as exposure to dust, ragweed, pollen, or some of the other harmful allergens may cause severe inflammation.

If you live in Florida, you may have suffered from the very high pollen counts here due to the state’s year-round warm climate. The warmer temperatures mean that Florida has one of the most powerful and prolonged allergy seasons in the country.

How to Tell the Difference Between a Seasonal Allergy and a Common Cold?

At times, it may be difficult to distinguish between a common cold and Florida allergies, primarily due to the similarities in the symptoms. Generally, a common cold occurs when viruses invade the immune system, which then fights the pathogens, leading to the symptoms associated with the common cold such as congestion and coughing.

The germs associated with common cold are contagious, and you can contract it by just shaking hands with an infected person or if one sneezes or coughs around you. Fortunately, after a couple of weeks of fighting the virus, your immunity gets back to normal and the symptoms disappear.

Allergies, on the other hand, appear as a result of an overactive immune system. For some reason, allergy sufferers’ immune systems mistake certain substances as harmful to the body and starts attacking them. When this happens, your body releases chemicals like histamine, as it would do when fighting a cold. This causes a series of symptoms including swelling of the nasal passages, sneezing, coughing, and a runny nose.  Allergies are not contagious, but they may be inherited.

Almost everyone has suffered a wide range of allergies at some point. In this post, we are discussing some of the types of allergies in Florida that could affect you at different times.

Spring Allergies & Symptoms in Florida

Among allergy sufferers in Florida, spring is associated with seasonal allergies due to blooming trees that release pollen grains into the air. As such, this is the time most people with pollen allergies develop symptoms. While there is no known cure for seasonal allergies, a few approaches can be taken to minimize their effect.

The most common cause of spring allergies is pollen. If pollen grain enters your nose and you’re allergic, it sends your immune system into overdrive. When the pollen grains find their way into the body and interact with the immune system, it releases antibodies. These compounds fight and drive away disease-causing microorganisms. They attack the pollen, leading to the production of chemicals known as histamines.

Histamines trigger the onset of such symptoms as runny nose, itchy eyes, and sneezing. Since pollen grains are light, they tend to travel a long way and may cause severe discomfort as they travel. Here are some of the biggest sources of these pollens in Florida:


River Birch, Bayberry, Alder, Aspen, Ash, Elm, Beech, Box Elder, Cedar, Cypress, Cottonwood, Hickory, Elm, Juniper, Maple, Mulberry, Oak, Olive, Palm, Poplar, Pine, Willow, and Sycamore.

Grasses and Weeds

Fescue, June, Perennial Rye, Saltgrass, Timothy, Bermuda, Johnson, Orchard, Redtop, and Sweet Vernal.

On breezy days, the symptoms of spring allergies tend to be particularly high as the wind increases pollen counts and blows more through the air. On rainy days, the pollen count tends to be especially low because a lot is washed away.

Some of the symptoms of spring allergies are:

  • Coughing
  • Watery eyes
  • Bags/dark circles under the eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Itchy eyes and nose

One of the challenges that come with airborne allergens is that they have a high likelihood of triggering asthma, a condition that causes the airways to narrow, thus making it difficult to breath. Some of the associated symptoms are wheezing and shortness of breath. If you’re not sure whether the symptoms you’re experiencing are dangerous allergic reactions or not, the best way to be sure is to visit a doctor to be tested.

Summer Allergies & Symptoms in Florida

Summer allergies, just like spring allergies, are mainly caused by the release of pollen grains. Usually, the higher the pollen grains in the air, the more pronounced the symptoms of allergies in Florida are. Some of the allergy symptoms you are bound to experience if you are allergic to pollen include runny nose, itchy eyes, and more.

Generally speaking, by the time summer sets in, bees are done pollinating. Most of the pollen prone to affect your allergies is from grasses and weeds. The following are some of the most common sources of summer allergens in Florida:


Cockleweed, Russian Thistle, Tumbleweed, Bermuda, Orchard, Sweet Vernal, Ragweed, Pigweed, and Sagebrush


Timothy, Bermuda, Bahia, Johnson, Red Top, and Blue Grasses.

Wind-blown ragweed allergens are some of the most common in the summer as they can travel for hundreds of miles. Ragweed typically starts growing in August, and even if it doesn’t get close to you, it can still cause severe grass allergy symptoms.

Air pollution can also worsen allergy symptoms in summer. Ozone is a pollutant that is formed in the atmosphere through a combination of nitrogen oxide, hydrocarbons, and sunlight from burning fuel. During summer, the calmer winds and stronger sunlight can form ozone clouds around some cities and increase allergy triggers.

Other factors that can cause allergic reactions during summer in the Sunshine State include the stings of bees, wasps, yellow jackets, hornets, and other insects. Summer also comes with fire ants; these insect bites can actually cause a life-threatening allergic reaction.

You may also want to watch out for molds in damp areas in your house, including the basement and bathrooms. If you are allergic, mold spores spread throughout your home can cause problems.

Dust mites and some microscopic insects peak in summer as well. These can trigger sneezes, wheezes, and a runny nose. Here are some of the other symptoms of summer allergies:

  • Itchy eyes and nose
  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Bags/dark circles under the eyes
  • Coughing
  • Watery eyes
  • Sore throat

In many cases, if you’re allergic to insects, you might not experience severe symptoms. You may only have mild reactions like localized itching and swelling. However, this doesn’t mean that you’re safe. In some people, they can cause severe allergic reactions with symptoms such as swelling of the tongue or throat, dizziness, nausea, and shock.

Fall Allergies & Symptoms in Florida

Fall comes with faded blooms of summer and plants going into a hibernating state. So why do you still have a runny nose? Allergic triggers in fall are quite different from those of spring, but they can cause just as many severe symptoms.

The most common allergy trigger in fall is ragweed. Although this yellow flowering weed usually begins pollination in August, the process can continue well into September and October. If you’re allergic to spring plants, there is a 30% chance you may also have ragweed allergies. The pollen of ragweed is a long distance traveler so even if you don’t live in an area where the plant grows, it can still reach you via strong winds.

Dust mites and mold are also common fall allergy triggers. Some of the symptoms associated with fall seasonal allergies include:

  • Sneezes
  • Wheezes
  • Runny nose
  • Upset stomach
  • Fatigue
  • Congestion
  • Scratchy throat and excessive saliva
  • Stinging, watery, and itchy eyes
  • Worsening eczema

Winter Allergies & Symptoms in Florida

Most seasonal allergies set in from spring all the way to fall, but disappear during the winter season. However, due to Florida’s mild weather and warmer climate, grasses can go to seed and pollen can enter the air any time of the year. You can also be affected by the following indoor allergens:


Mold is a fungus that thrives in damp and humid areas such as basements and bathrooms. It can release spores into the air, thereby triggering mold allergy symptoms.

Dust Mites

These small pests tend to flourish in beddings and mattresses. When their residue become airborne, it can trigger allergic reactions.


While not many people are allergic to animal fur, a protein generally found in the pet dander, urine, and saliva could cause allergic reactions in some people.

If you spend more time indoors during winter, you may start showing some allergy symptoms. Some of the symptoms of winter allergies include:

  • Bags and dark circles under the eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Watery eyes
  • Coughing
  • Itchy eyes and nose
  • Sneezing

You can easily distinguish whether your symptoms are caused by sickness or allergies. A cold usually doesn’t last more than ten days, while allergies can go for weeks or months. Additionally, flu and colds come with other symptoms such as fevers, aches, and pains that are not common with allergies.

To prevent winter allergies, remove any mold-infested carpeting, wallpaper, shower curtains, etc., and wash your sinks and showers with a bleach solution and a little detergent. For dust mites, you can use a humidifier to maintain your home air humidity at below 50%. A HEPA air filter can also go a long way to clean dust in the air.

Tips to Survive the Allergy Season in Florida

Here are some of the most effective ways to relieve your allergies:

Install a HEPA Filter

A poignant way to reduce the level of allergens in your home is by using a HEPA filter attached to your vacuum or air purifier. Also make sure to keep your car windows shut, both when driving and not driving, in order to let your ventilation re-circulate.

Improve Ventilation in Your House

It’s crucial that you ensure adequate ventilation in your home. The best way to limit the concentration of pollen allergens circulating within your house is to install a high-efficiency HVAC filter and make sure that you change it every spring.

Wear a Protective Face Mask

You can control your environment by wearing a protective face mask in order to carry out tasks such as cleaning the car, raking the leaves, or mowing the lawn. There are different types of paper masks available that you can buy, depending on the severity of your allergies. Some are disposable, while others are long-lasting and come with a high-efficiency particulate air filter.

Wash Everything

If you spend a lot of time outdoors, during spring and summer, make sure you shower from head to toe and wear freshly-laundered clothes every day. Change your pillow cases and any other cloth you come into contact with where you may transfer the pollen.

Also, give your pets a regular bath to remove any pollen in their fur, especially after outdoor activities. This will help prevent pollen and other contaminants from ending up on your clothes or carpet. If you have severe mold allergies, we recommend getting rid of carpets altogether because they are known to trap lots of pollen and dust.

Request an Appointment with a Highly Rated, Board-Certified Allergy Specialist

You can determine whether you’re allergic to a certain allergen by going to an allergist or ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist. They will conduct tests on your skin and check for signs such as itchiness or redness. In some cases, you may be asked to undergo a blood test to diagnose certain types of allergies.

At the Florida Sinus & Snoring Specialists, we are committed to helping you achieve long-term relief from allergies, whether they are caused by food or seasonal allergens. Dr. Mandel, MD, and his team of board-certified physician assistants have helped countless patients across South Florida get relief from sinus and nasal allergies with sustainable results.

If you’re experiencing any of the allergy symptoms we have discussed in this guide, or you’re tired of living with your seasonal or chronic allergies, talk to Dr. Mandel before your condition gets worse. He will determine the root cause of your allergy and deliver a comprehensive solution that is tailored to your specific needs.

Call us at 954-983-1211 to schedule an appointment or click here to book online.