Allergists see spike in patients following Irma, blame debris

By: Karen Parks

Updated:

Debris from Hurricane Irma has blocked streets and sidewalks—and now, doctors say, your sinuses. 

Michael Anderson, an allergist in Central Florida, and said he’s seen his caseload spike since the storm. 

Read: Florida cities to residents: Don't toss trash on Irma debris

“When the hurricane came along it blew all the sticks and trees and tree limbs off the trees onto the ground and then it rained so everything got wet,” said Anderson. “Now the molds are going crazy. They are digesting all this plant material that's on the ground and it’s not packed down like normal so it’s blowing around.”

Christopher Santalis, who lives in Winter Garden, said he’s been feeling those effects. 

“I was becoming more congested and I started developing headaches which was a symptom I didn't have before until after Hurricane Irma,” he said. 

Read: Central Florida still dealing with removal of Hurricane Irma debris

There are 20,000 species of mold in Central Florida that are now blooming among the wet debris and are spreading spores. 

“They are released literally in billions just in a very small area and some you can even see puff out its amazing because they are so small they float around in the air,” said Anderson. 

Read: Hurricane Irma: Contractor pay slowing down storm debris removal process

Anderson said regardless of the allergen, the symptoms are the same: nasal congestion, itchy eyes, sneezing and coughing. 

Next Up: