Spring is here, with flowers blooming and bees buzzing as we warm up from winter weather.
Although spring blooms may be beautiful, the season also brings seasonal allergies, causing millions of people in the US to experience sneezing, congestion and other symptoms. People who struggle with seasonal allergies, also known as hay fever and allergic rhinitis, are mostly reacting to pollen from plants, according to the National Institutes of Health.
And climate change has made allergy season longer and pollen counts higher. A study published earlier this month found, as global temperatures rise, allergy season could start weeks earlier, end days later and be more intensive for those with seasonal allergies.
The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America recently released its 2022 Allergy Capitals report, which lists some of the most challenging cities for spring and fall allergies in the top 100 metropolitan areas in the continental US
The cities are scored and ranked on spring and fall “pollen scores,” over-the-counter sinus and allergy medication use and the availability of allergists and immunologists, according to the organization.
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Here are the 20 worst cities for allergy sufferers in the ranking:
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Although different parts of the country may have distinct plants that produce pollen, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America also listed some of the most common tree “pollen culprits” for spring allergies.
- box elder
- mountain elder
And for those who have seasonal allergy symptoms this spring, experts say there are steps you can take to help clear your congestion or runny nose.
- Stay indoors on days that are dry and windy. If you have seasonal allergies, the best time to go outside is after rain, which can clear pollen from the air, according to the Mayo Clinic.
- Pollen can stick to sheets and other linens, so don’t hang your laundry outside.
- Take an over-the-counter medication like an antihistamine or decongestant.
- Start taking allergy medications before your symptoms start if high pollen counts are predicted in your area.
You can find other steps to help with seasonal allergies here.
Contributing: Associated Press
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