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Have Questions About Florida's Spring Allergy

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Sep 3rd, 2012, 12:58 PM
  #1
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Have Questions About Florida's Spring Allergy

From 1999-about 2004, we wintered in our RV in the Lake Buena Vista area from fall to March/April. Had absolutely no problems with allergies. During that time, that area was in a drought period.

Since then, we cannot breathe after about the middle of January. The problem seems to be that yellow/green pollen that gets all over vehicles, streets, etc.. So we stayed away for a number of years. We went back this March to test it out - still a problem for us.

Are there places in Florida during the Jan-March period where there are not so many of those trees that drop that pollen? We would love to return to wintering in Florida & don't mind moving a few times between cities. Maybe staying close to the Gulf waters or Atlantic shores would help?

Thanks in advance for your help. Julie
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Sep 3rd, 2012, 01:32 PM
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I didn't notice anything like that while I was in my Fort Lauderdale condo this past winter (Oct-April) but maybe I missed something.
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Sep 3rd, 2012, 01:38 PM
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That is oak pollen you're describing, and I can tell you there's plenty of it along the Gulf Coast. Sure, staying right by the water would help, but you'd have to leave the beach at some point!

Something about your experience doesn't make sense anyway. There are lots of oak trees in and around the Orlando area, always have been, and drought wouldn't affect their cycle. (In fact, oak trees are the most common type of tree in the US--where do you live now that there aren't any?) Perhaps you have developed an allergy to oak pollen, or perhaps oak pollen isn't really what you're allergic to.

If you would like to return to wintering in FL, I suggest you do what many Floridians do: consult an allergist and take allergy medicine. Works for me!
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Sep 3rd, 2012, 02:20 PM
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Thanks for your responses.

NewbE, I live in central Indiana & yes we do have oak trees, but we do not have the yellow/green pollen - at least not that I've ever seen & I've lived here all of my life. I've been told many times by Floridians that the yellow/green stuff comes from the Live Oak trees, which we do not have in Indiana. I'm assuming that is correct, but I've never seen where that pollen comes from.

For too many years to remember, I've taken Allegra (generic type) & it works well ..... until I get to Florida from middle of Jan - April (haven't been there after April). We still stay in the LBV area during Nov & Dec, & I do not have any problems during that time - even when we stay in or visit a wooden rv campground.

When we wintered there without problems, the yellow/green stuff was not visable. It did not gather on our car, our rv, our rv lot, or in the streets like it does now. My severe allery symptons started when the pollen became very visable on surfaces. I assumed the Allegra took care of the pollen when it was slight. I'm also assuming my symptoms are caused by the yellow/green stuff - assumed based on when it started - when the pollen became very thick & visable & Floridians told me that was their experience.

I agree that a visit to an allergist would reveal the cause & possible cure. However, I posted to see if folks who know about this issue have suggestions/experiences as to places in Florida where the pollen is not so severe. If there is such a place, I'll go there in February & give it a try - easier than taking years of allergy shots - if such a place in Florida exists.

Thanks again. Julie
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Sep 3rd, 2012, 07:31 PM
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Pollen season in the South can be any time from mid February to mid May. Drought conditions that are common in Florida during those same months can make allergy season worse because the pollen remains in the air rather than being brought to the ground by rain.

If you recall, the south from Texas to Florida had horrible pollen levels this spring because of a mild winter and little rain.
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Sep 4th, 2012, 04:23 AM
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I am going to guess that is pine pollen, which is serious business all over the south. It will indeed coat your car and your windows and you yourself if you sit outside long enough. Inland Florida (Orlando, Occala, Gainesville etc) are covered with pines, big beautiful graceful pollen-filled pines.

Start taking your allegra or claritin or loratadine _at least_ a month before you go south. It takes about two weeks to get into your system enough to help.

The closer to salt water you can stay, the better off you will be, particularly if the prevailing winds are coming from the water rather than the land. You can find this out by googling weather sites on the web. Otherwise, you may just have to pick another month.

I learned all this the hard way.
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Sep 4th, 2012, 04:37 AM
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We spent last February in West Palm Beach;, FL. My sister was really hit hard with the allergy symptoms. She took Claritin and it put an end to her misery.
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Sep 4th, 2012, 09:21 AM
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Live oak pollen and pine pollen are the tradeoffs we have for beautiful springs. I can't think of anywhere in North Fl, except on the sand along the Gulf, where you will not end up getting coated with the yellow/green dust in the spring. It's pretty much the same all over the state (although I personally think it's worse up here). Drought does help a bit, as the trees make more pollen during wetter seasons. My suggestion would be to stay close to the water and experiment with different OTC remedies to see if you can avoid shots.
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Sep 4th, 2012, 09:51 AM
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Yep, oak pollen can get really bad here in Central Florida. It may be that you took a while to become sensitized to it, and now that you do come back it hits you like a ton of bricks.

Having said that, there are more oak trees in the northern half of the state than the southern half. We have relatives that live in the Ft. Lauderdale area right along the beach and they don't seem to get that oak pollen like we do.
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Sep 4th, 2012, 10:05 AM
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JulieAgain, before considering shots, you can add more allergy meds. I take Zyrtec and Singulair every day, and I add Flonase during my allergy season--each one attacks a different facet or set of allergens, is my understanding. I also use allergy eye drops as needed. The thing is, I would be taking all of this stuff no matter where we live, so I'm OK with it. I hope you can find an area of Florida that works better for you than LBV did, but more meds are always an option.
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Sep 4th, 2012, 11:12 AM
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Different allergy meds do NOT "attack" different allergens. And Singulair isn't an allergy medication - it's for asthma - a completely different disease.


And flonase works only for nasal symptoms - not other allergy symptoms.

If it works fr you fine - but Singulair is not for people with allergies.
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Sep 4th, 2012, 11:37 AM
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I think it's a bit off topic, but you are incorrect about Singulair, nyt. The wiki page has this as the first sentence:
"Montelukast (trade names Singulair and Montelo-10) is a leukotriene receptor antagonist (LTRA) used for the maintenance treatment of asthma and to relieve symptoms of seasonal allergies.["
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montelukast
Perhaps I should have said that each medication attacks a different set of symptoms, but your statement about Singulair is quite wrong.
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Sep 4th, 2012, 06:05 PM
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Wikipedia is not really the best place to get medical information.

Although some MDs may use it to control allergic rhinitis in very severe cases, it was developed as and is primarily used for long-term control of asthma. (Anthihistamines are typically used to control allergies since they have a much more benign AE profile.)
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Sep 4th, 2012, 06:20 PM
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Look, nytraveler. YOU are wrong. Why are you digging in about this? Relax! It's the internet! Nobody knows if you are a dog.

Read this 5-year-old medical study:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1936314/

(The money quote for people who refuse to click on links:

A review of the literature undoubtedly establishes montelukast as a viable alternative for the treatment of seasonal allergic rhinitis.
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Sep 4th, 2012, 06:58 PM
  #15
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So much info; thanks to everyone for the time it took to respond.

As a response to some of the comments & questions - I take Allegra year round, so I will have already been taking it upon arrival in Florida. Years ago, I tried Claritin & Singular for my Indiana allergies & it didn't work. Allegra does work for me while in Indiana, if I take it every day all year long, which I do. Sadly it doesn't work in Florida with the yellow/green stuff which starts affecting me in the middle of January

I had considered the panhandle - sorry to hear it is one of the "hot" spots. Of course it would be fairly cold in Jan/Feb.

As suggested, I sort of thought that maybe going farther south would have more palm trees versus oak/pine trees. Also thought about going to the Gulf coast so the wind would blow from the water. Thanks for reinforcing those ideas.

So....we have decided to return to Florida this February for a week to try & find a "breathable" winter haven! Any suggestions about which Gulf coast areas have less oak/pine trees? We really prefer the Sarasota area over the Naples area because of the entertainment in Sarasota - museums, arts, etc.

Am I correct that Key West has lots of oak & pine. Was there a long time ago & seems like I remember a lot of big leafy, non-palm, trees.

Thanks again everyone & sympathy to my fellow allergy sufferers!!
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Sep 4th, 2012, 08:39 PM
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Well, I think Sarasota has lots of oaks and pines, but it's all relative. I wish you luck and hope you can find a place to your liking, and I urge you to consider the idea that your allergies are changing, and that you may need to retry some meds to get relief. But I'm no doctor! I am just a fellow-sufferer who suffered equally in Arizona, Minnesota and Florida--go figure, right?!
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Sep 4th, 2012, 08:40 PM
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Oh, and nyt, I didn't get my prescription from Wikipedia.
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Sep 5th, 2012, 03:44 AM
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The Keys in general should be fine. You can have all the pollen in the world and it won't matter if there is a steady breeze that blows it out to sea. On an island, all breezes are sea breezes! (I live on an island and don't suffer from pollen allergies at home).
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Sep 5th, 2012, 05:59 AM
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You might find less oak trees on the Atlantic side than the Gulf side, but it would all depend on exact area, of course.

Our front yard is dominated by 3 huge oaks (Laurel oak I think, not Live Oak). The pollen covers everything in early spring, from yellow/green dust to longer tendrils. And at work, it's so deep in the parking lot you have to shuffle through it in spots...
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Sep 8th, 2012, 07:13 AM
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Thanks for your replies. I think we'll try the Gulf coast - thinking the wind is blowing from the water rather than the land - & Key West - maybe the island thing will work as Ackislander posted.
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