Achoo! Spring is Here

April showers bring May flowers, but does the pollen have to be part of the deal?

Tallahassee’s mild winters, scorching hot summers and blossoming flowers during spring are the itchy ingredients for a long and tough allergy season.

According to the “PollenCast” on, from March 9 through 21, tree pollen levels were “orange,” meaning high. The week ahead is expected to be “red- orange,” or very high.

Pollen usually starts in February and can last until May. Tree pollen is most prevalent and it is usually found in oak trees. Although grass pollen starts to appear in late spring, usually in May, it sometimes lasts through the early summer months, June and July.

Pollen months, however, may alter due to variations in climate. The hotter it is outside, the higher you can expect the pollen count.

As trees bud and grass re-grows, pollen clogs up the air making it more difficult for some to breathe and spend time outdoors. Right now, the pollen count in Tallahassee is over 8,000, with the mold count not too far behind.

“It’s nothing we can’t handle,” said Ashley Johnson, a third-year pre-med student and Tallahassee native, whose immune system is used to this heavy-duty pollen.

One in 10 Americans suffer from pollen allergies and the spring is exactly when students can expect to see red eyes, hear the throat scratching, congestion and runny noses throughout campus.

“I’m one of those people who have severe asthma, so I can’t afford to get sick; it’s already hard to breathe,” said Renard Livingston, a fourth-year criminal justice student from Miami.

Many students say it is “normal” to have allergies during the spring and don’t take the proper steps to prevent themselves from getting sick. This doesn’t mean walking around campus with a face mask on, but it could indicate larger problems in persons who are prone to symptoms. Basic hygene– covering your mouth when sneezing or washing hands- can help.

“I really hate this time of year,” said Alphonzo Jennings, a second-year general studies student from Chicago.

This is when everyone is like a ‘walking disease’, you have people get sick left and right and with the end of the semester approaching, I think everyone should be cautious around one another,”

FAMU Health Clinic Director Tanya Tatum and nurse practitioner Lisa Gardner MSN, FNP-C, suggest that students “take proper antihistamine medications such as Claritin-D, Zyrtec and Allegra,” stay inside when pollen counts are high or try to use a saline nasal spray in order to stay healthy during the allergen pollen season.