Today is the day. A friend who moved away years ago is returning for a visit, and you can hardly wait to get outside with your picnic basket.
Until you see it: the coat of pollen all over your car. You and your friend both have allergies.
Still, you do your best to dispel your fears as the windshield wipers tackle the stubborn pollen. “Maybe it will be a good pollen day,” you tell yourself.
The wind picks up at the park, making it a terrific day for the pollen and a terrible time for you and your friend. Both of you attempt to enjoy the picnic through your ongoing duet of sniffling. You suggest changing your itinerary and catching an earlier showing of the scary movie you wanted to see, but truth be told, the allergies have left both of you feeling awful. You agree to try again some other time and go your separate ways.
Upon returning to your vehicle, you notice that more pollen is waiting for you, like the inescapable, implacable monster in the movie you and your friend now have to miss. As you drive away from the prospect of a fun day by yourself, you peer through the smudgy pollen film on your windshield and ask, “Why?”
Urban Trees and Allergies in North Florida, a publication from the UF/IFAS School of Forest, Fisheries, and Geomatics Sciences, is a must-read before the next get-together attempt. This Ask IFAS publication is full of helpful information about pollen, factors that affect pollen movement and amounts of pollen produced, commonly used native trees in north Florida and their allergenicity ratings, and Gainesville urban trees. Additionally, the article provides strategies to reduce pollen exposure and tips for those with severe pollen allergies. These include but are not limited to incorporating trees with lower allergy ratings, planting female-bearing plants, limiting outdoor activities during days with high winds and low humidity, and wearing a dust mask when doing yardwork.