TAMPA - January 2013 has been one for the books with record heat and loads of Florida sunshine! But because of this, pollen season has started off with a bang.
"And when you have a warm Winter, you have the trees misbehaving," explained Allergist Richard Lockey. "They bloom early rather than later -- so we're probably a week in front of where we usually are this time of year on average."
"But," he added, "we've had years like this in the past also."
And the Doctor would know. As director of the Division of Allergy and Immunology at the USF College of Medicine -- in addition to running his especially-of-late thriving practice -- he's seen his share of complaining patients...
"It's annoying," said Crystal Shaw-Oberle -- a person who doesn't normally suffer from allergies. But this year both she and her son have been miserable.
"We're up scratching and clawing our eyeballs out," she told me. "My son's up two, three times a night giving breathing treatments... coughing..."
And all that comes from all of the trees in bloom. Specifically those that we seem to have so many of.
"The trees that cause problems are the Oak trees," explained Dr, . Lockey. "Eleven different species of Oak trees, Cypress, Cedar, Australian Pine and Bayberry, which is a shrubby trees so they're the five plants that cause problems this time of year."
But here's the good news when it comes to allergies this season: Since we got an earlier start because of the weather, it looks as if we'll be out of the woods quicker too.
"As long as we keep having this warm weather," said Dr. Lockey. "If we start having cold weather, it'll quiet it down."
There is a front headed here tonight... but the long-term forecast is still for plenty of warmth,right into Spring.
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The Washington State Patrol says the Interstate 5 bridge over the Skagit River at Mount Vernon has collapsed, dumping vehicles and people into the water.