Winter may be behind us, but the effects of record snow will last well into spring. “When we see particularly wet winters and springs, we know that a tough allergy and asthma season could be on the horizon,” says Dr. Cliff Bassett, a practicing NYC allergist and Ambassador for the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA). Heavy precipitation during the winter means the root systems of trees and plants are primed and ready to begin releasing their pollen, resulting in undesirable allergy symptoms.
Itchy eyes, nose and throat as well as sneezing and nasal congestion are some of the symptoms nearly 40 million Americans with allergies and more than 10 million with allergic asthma face. While most of the country is predicted to have a strong asthma and allergy season, people in certain cities are in more jeopardy. The following cities were included in the top ten “2014 Allergy Capitals” by AAFA:
- Louisville, Ky.
- Memphis, Tenn.
- Baton Rouge, La.
- Oklahoma, Okla.
- Jackson, Miss.
- Chattanooga, Tenn.
- Dallas, Texas
- Richmond, Va.
- Birmingham, Ala.
- McAllen, Texas
This list is based on pollen count, number of over-the-counter and prescription medications per patient and number of board-certified allergists per patient. According to AAFA, the aforementioned cities are more at risk because of the types of trees common in these areas. Dr. Bassett referred to it as “battle of the sexes” saying, “Decades ago, we had more insect-pollinated female trees. Now in many cities, we have more wind-pollinated male trees, which pack a more intense release of allergy-causing seasonal allergies."
And don’t think these allergens only affect you outside. In fact, pollen can easily travel indoors, where Americans spend 90 percent of their time, according to the Environment Protection Agency. And since this air can be up to five times more polluted than it is outside, special care must be taken to protect the air you breathe. Seal windows, use a vacuum several times weekly and equip your home with an air purifier that contains a True HEPA filter, like the Fellowes AeraMax 200. The AeraMax 200 can safely remove 99.97 percent of airborne particles as small as .3 microns, including: dust, mold, pollen, ragweed, pet dander and cigarette smoke.
It may be a tough allergy season ahead, but don’t let allergies get the best of you this spring. Take extra steps to stay healthy and protect against seasonal allergies.