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With spring comes blooming flowers and the start of allergy season
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Joanna Pethel, left, her son Grant, Julie Benna and her son Zac enjoy a walk around the downtown square filled with blooming trees. April marks the beginning of pollen season and the peak time for tree pollen. - photo by Tom Reed

Spring is in the air, and that includes pollen.

Though its job is to spread from flower to flower, some pollen particles find their way into the human body, creating allergy issues.

“I’m always amazed at what people are willing to put up with,” said Dr. Andy Nish of the Allergy and Asthma Care Center in Gainesville.

“I hear it all of the time, ‘Oh, it’s just allergies; it’s not that big of a deal.’”

But sometimes it is a big deal, Nish said. Allergy problems can lead to asthma and sinus issues.

Allergies are the fifth most common chronic disease in the country, and about 4 million work days are lost each year because of allergy-related absences, according to Nish.

Early April is the peak tree pollen season, including local pollinators oak, elm, hickory and cedar trees.

“In general, you see more tree pollen during the spring, grasses during the summer and weeds in the fall,” Nish said.

Pollen counts tend to be highest on warm, dry, breezy days and lowest during cooler, wetter periods.

Time of day also affects pollen.

“If we’re talking about rag weed, it tends to pollinate in the morning or early afternoon,” Nish said. “But if we’re talking about trees, they pollinate around the clock.”

What that translates to for some is a lot of sneezing and itchy, watery eyes.

For those who suffer from allergies, odds are that one or more of their children will have allergy issues, too.

“If one parent has (allergies), the chances of a child having them is around 33 percent,” Nish said. “But if both parents have them, there is up to a 70 percent chance that a child would have them too.

“But the good news is that there is no need for people to suffer. There are very good allergy treatments available.”

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