Are you suffering from allergies? Weather conditions around the globe are boosting ragweed levels, and seasonal storms are helping to spread this allergen and others – like mold.1 So, if you are sensitive to dander and pollen in the air, odds are you may experience some of the worst symptoms this year.
Worst of the worst
The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America recently released some of the worst cities in America for those with allergies this year. Based on whether their pollen scores, rate of allergy medicine used and ratio of allergists per patient were higher than average, average or better than average, a list for the top 100 fall allergy capitals was compiled. The top 10 include:
- Wichita, Kan.
- Jackson, Miss.
- Knoxville, Tenn.
- Louisville, Ky.
- Memphis, Tenn.
- McAllen, Texas
- Baton Rouge, La.
- Dayton, Ohio
- Chattanooga, Tenn.
- Oklahoma City, Okla.
A number of other well-known cities also made the top 100, including:
- New York City
In addition to high levels of ragweed in the air this fall, there are a number of other factors at play that may be responsible for making this allergy season particularly difficult to deal with. For instance:
Some parts of the country are experiencing higher temperatures for longer periods of time. When paired with the high carbon dioxide levels we are experiencing, the allergy season for ragweed is simply extended.
High winds from hurricanes, tornadoes and other weather patterns across the country are expected to distribution pollens further than usual.
Mold is more prevalent than usual due to past large storms such as Superstorm Sandy. As it continues to grow, the previously explained wind patterns will simply spread it across the country for added irritation.
In some cases, there's nothing you can do but medicate your allergies and hope that the symptoms become bearable. However, there are a few tricks you might want to consider if this season has you particularly miserable.2 How about:
- Keeping your home cool and dry – with a temperature that is less than 70 and humidity that is no more than 50 percent.
- Wearing a mask that covers your mouth and nose while outdoors, especially if you are taking on any yard work.
- Washing your hair before you go to bed to get those allergens – like pollen – out. This may help to decrease your symptoms while you sleep and can prevent the dander from making a home on your pillow for future agitation.
- Using bedding that helps to keep allergies and way – this are easily available at local home good stores.
- Cleaning and changing your bedding on a regular basis to kill off dust mites and other triggers. Use water that is at least 140 degrees.
- Bleaching away any indoor mold that is within your house. You'll want to use a solution that is 5 percent bleach and have a rag or sponge on hand for cleaning.
Research has also shown that drinking and smoking can worsen both asthma and allergies in individuals.3 You may suffer from allergies to alcohol if you experience nasal congestion, itchy and red eyes or have difficulty breathing while enjoying a cocktail. Additionally, smoke can increase the symptoms people experience due to seasonal allergies. So, if you are sniffling and sneezing a lot this fall, you might want to cut these bad habits for a bit of relief.
1 Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, "The AAFA 2013 fall allergy capitals" September 2013
2 Health magazine, "20 ways to stop allergies"
3 LiveScience, "Alcohol and smoke can worsen asthma and allergies" November 8, 2011