This is the time of year in Florida when I get a very violent allergic reaction to something in the air. When up lived in New England, the allergy season was final exams, which I guess means that it's Spring here now.
There seems, most years, to be a strong correlation between when the mangoes bloom and when I sneeze hard enough to cause damage, but my doctor once assured me that since there aren't any mango plants very near where I live, and I sneeze like crazy in the yard, odds are that it's not mango pollen itself because it is a very heavy grain and doesn't travel that far from the plant. It is, he said, likely to be a tree that pollinates on the same schedule. And indeed, there were not a lot of backyard mangos in New Haven.
But what tree? How to tell?
Weatherbug says “Predominant Pollen: Cedar/Juniper and Bald Cypress.”
But JustWeather.com says the pollen count is “low”. Yah, right.
Weather.com agrees, but adds, “Most active tree pollen types: Oak” (and there's a big live oak in the law school courtyard where my eyes itch and water…hmm…). They also say today's pollen will be worse than yesterday's. Oh joy.
Local Pollen Types for Miami-Dade County, Florida in Winter offers a veritable cornucopia of suspects in the tree category (not mention the grasses and weeds):
Avocado, Bay (Persea)
Cherry Palm (Pseudophoenix)
Coconut Palm (Cocos)
False Sensitive-Plant, Mimosa (Mimosa)
False Willow (Baccharis)
Hercules'-Club, Prickly-Ash, Toothachetree (Zanthoxylum)
Royal Palm (Roystonea)
Not that knowing would probably do me any good, but I'd still like to know the true name of Nemesis. Meanwhile pass the Fexofenadine.
The usual process for home allergy testing is to get a sample of the suspect allergen, rub it on a band aid, and wear the band aid someplace where the skin is fairly thin, like the inside of your forearm, for 24 hours. If you’re allergic, your skin will show a reaction.
Juniper is my nemesis. We are surrounded by it here, and when the weather turns unseasonably warm as it did last week, it has an early bloom. You can literally see the pollen blowing around. In my case symptoms are flu-like body ache, with sneezing and sniffling to add to the fun.
In the fall, it’s chamisa.