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Having a tough time with allergies on the First Coast? Here's why

A Baptist Health doctor believes the high grass and tree pollen counts could be being the rise in allergy symptoms.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — People are getting some cabin fever and spending more time outdoors during the second spring in a pandemic, but that can lead to lots of issues for people with seasonal allergies.

A local doctor is seeing a big increase in people coming to him for relief from their allergies this week.

“I can literally just be having a conversation, and tears will be coming down my face. I won’t even really notice,” Hannah McDaniel said.

Hannah McDaniel developed severe allergies when she moved from Baltimore to Jacksonville.

“My eyes get really puffy, or they literally just tear up. I sneeze a lot,” McDaniel said. “I think I’m allergic to mites, dust, and pretty much every plant that grows in Florida I’m allergic to.”

“Once you’re outside, this is Florida, and this is what happens in March,” Dr. Paul Walker said.

Dr. Paul Walker is an ear, nose, and throat doctor with Baptist Health. He believes the high grass and tree pollen counts could be being the rise in allergy symptoms.

“Right now we’re at pretty high numbers for the tree pollens,” Walker said. “On a scale of 12, we’re already at 10.8.”

Walker has several suggestions for how to control your allergy symptoms.

“A saline rinse after going outside may be beneficial. Some of our patients respond well to antihistamines,” Walker said.

“Every single day, I pretty much just take allergy medicine,” McDaniel said.

McDaniel remains aware of what triggers here allergies.

“Just by finding out which trees I’m allergic to and which bushes, they’re not in my backyard,” McDaniel said. “It makes it a little more comfortable.”

Walker says raw, local honey may be a good way to potentially retrain your immune system. If none of these things work, he suggests allergy drops or allergy testing.

“When we’re seeing people have consistent symptoms, and they’re not under good control with medications, then I do think allergy testing can be very helpful,” Walker said. “It can be very insightful to help figure out what the triggers are.”