Peak of sneezing season in Tampa Bay - WFLA News Channel 8

Peak of sneezing season in Tampa Bay

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Blooming oaks leave a layer of pollen on cars this time of the year Blooming oaks leave a layer of pollen on cars this time of the year

Thursday's rain will wash away some of the Bay area's pollen problems, but the season for sneezing is far from over.

"I don't know of a worse time for patients who have allergic diseases than this time of the year in Florida," said Dr. Richard Lockey. "This is the peak season and that's why people will be complaining tremendously in the next two to three weeks."

Lockey is the Director at USF's College of Medicine's Division of Allergy and Immunology. He says the Tampa area often tops lists for the worst places for spring allergies in the country. Our weather and beautiful oak trees are to blame.

"It's the dust that's caused by the pollen particles breaking apart, creating this huge naturally occurring pollutant," he explained. "This is pollution, but it's Mother Nature's pollution."

The little flowers on big old oaks give off billions and billions of pollen particles, according to Lockey. You may be able to see it all over your car. And if you're one of the estimated 15 to 20 percent of Americans who suffer from seasonal allergies, that's what is making you sneeze and feel congested.

"Stay inside and run your air conditioning. Stay in your car and run your air conditioning," Lockey said. "Stay out of the outdoors. Don't go jogging."

Lockey also recommends trying an over-the-counter antihistamine. If that doesn't work, go see your primary care doctor. If the problem persists, he recommends visiting an allergist who can put you on a specialized treatment program.

"People don't need to suffer like a lot of them will," he said.

Lockey says decades of research at USF has contributed to the creation of revolutionary medications to treat hay fever and asthma.

USF's Division of Allergy and Immunology is currently looking for asthma patients to take part in clinical studies. If you're interested, you can call (813) 631- 4024.

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