Although spring is the season of rebirth, and it’s beautiful to see new leaves growing on trees, but this natural phenomenon fills the air with pollen which can be a misery for those with allergies. Unfortunately, this year, the USA will experience more pollen than usual, as predicted by AccuWeather. They mentioned that the eastern part of the country is likely to get most affected by this allergic powdery substance.
This will be a serious headache for Miami residents, as the weather forecast during the spring will be ideal for more pollen production. Generally, more rainfall than normal and near-average temperature causes trees to produce more pollen. And with the same weather forecast in Miami, the city will experience more pollen coating sidewalks, cars, and everything else.
What is pollen, and how to affect the human body?
Pollen is a fine, dust-like substance from the male part of the flowers and contains the male reproductive cells. Pollen grains may vary in size, shape, and surface characteristics depending on the plant species. Once released, plants rely on winds, insects, birds, and other animals to transfer pollen.
Biologically speaking, pollen comes in two types:
- entomophilous pollen
- anemophilous pollen
Generally, entomophilous pollen does not cause allergies among us as it transfers from plant to plant by insects, bees, and other animals. But the anemophilous pollen mostly depends on winds to spread throughout the environment. And this causes springtime allergies with systems like sneezing, sniffles, coughing, and itchy eyes.
At different times of the year, different types of allergies caused by pollen can trigger. And that’s why it’s important to understand when an individual’s allergies act up the most to identify what kind of pollen the person is allergic to.
What causing Miami’s air as one of the most allergic ones in the county?
Well, Florida may experience year-round warmth or be the best place to enjoy the Christmas holidays; its summery weather causes a prolonged and more powerful allergy season than the rest of the United States.
Juniper, oak, and bald cypress are the top contributors to Miami’s high pollen levels. According to Naresh Kumar, associate professor of Environmental Health, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, “Overall, we’ve had relatively high rainfall this winter along with mild temperatures, and that’s a good recipe for an early rise in pollen levels.” He also added, “Last year, pollen levels in the city were extremely high, and this year they’re even worse.”
He also mentioned the year-round warm weather through Florida, and thus trees here hardly experience a hard freeze. This helps plants in the state to create pollen throughout the year. According to associate professor of biology in the College of Arts and Sciences, Barbara Whitlock, “All of the trees and most of the rest of the plants in Miami produce pollen. So that’s usually what we blame for allergies.” She also mentioned pine and oak, along with mango trees, are responsible for the city’s higher pollen level.
Although it is a natural phenomenon, scientists argue that human-induced climate change is also responsible for lengthening pollen seasons across the U.S. and Canada. According to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) of the United States, global warming results in shorter winter seasons and longer spring and summer days throughout the year. This is also boosting plants to produces a higher level of pollen, starting from early February.
How to survive this Allergy Season in Miami?
Miami is a hub for outdoor activities; hence, it’s vital and difficult for the residents to avoid pollen exposure. First, it is always recommended to go for allergy testing to discover the types of pollen that can trigger allergy problems. Only then is it possible to be prepared with the required allergy medicine at high-risk times of the year?
Secondly, try to participate in outdoor activities during the evening and after rains when the air counts lower pollen level. And lastly, as Mr. Kumar said, mask-wearing, which is already a proven practice to prevent COVID-19, can also help to pollen exposure.