Spring has officially arrived, and that means allergy season is upon us. However, according to a recent study, allergies in some cities across the U.S. may be more severe than in others.
The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America recently published its list of “Allergy Capitals” for 2023, and one North Texas city earned a top spot.
Dallas was ranked second on the list of most challenging to live with seasonal allergies across the U.S., according to the AAFA.
The AAFA said the city’s worse-than-average scores for all pollen and allergy medicine use as well as the average number of allergy specialists contributed to the city’s ranking.
But there is some good news for North Texans struggling with seasonal allergies this year.
“The rain that’s in the forecast for tomorrow should help to wash out some of the pollen,” NBC 5 meteorologist Grant Johnson said. “And with each passing week, we’re getting closer to the end of spring allergy season.”
2023 Top 10 Allergy Capitals:
The AAFA looked at three important factors when analyzing the 2023 allergy season: tree, grass, and weed pollen scores; over-the-counter allergy medication use; and availability of board-certified allergists.
- Wichita, Kansas
- Dallas, Texas
- Scranton, Pennsylvania
- Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
- Tulsa, Oklahoma
- Sarasota, Florida
- Cape Coral, Florida
- Orlando, Florida
- Des Moines, Iowa
- Greenville, South Carolina
Allergy Season and Climate Change
If you feel like allergy seasons are getting longer and stronger, you’re not imagining it.
Location is not the only factor that will play a role in determining the severity of the 2023 allergy season. According to the AAFA’s recent study, climate change has contributed to allergy seasons that start earlier and last longer.
Climate change causes more ground-level ozone, longer and stronger pollen seasons, and worsening urban heat islands, the AAFA said. Climate change also contributes to milder winters, which in turn can cause longer allergy seasons.
According to AAFA researchers, climate change is responsible for about 50% of the increase in pollen seasons and about 8% of the increase in pollen concentrations. This increased pollen can have negative effects on allergies, asthma, viral infections, school performance, and emergency room visits, the AAFA said.
How to Manage Seasonal Allergies
Both over-the-counter and prescription medications can help to prevent and treat the symptoms associated with seasonal allergies. According to the AAFA, some of these treatments are more effective if you start them a few weeks before your allergy season begins.
Nasal corticosteroid sprays: These sprays help to reduce inflammation and swelling in the nose. Some examples of nasal corticosteroids are FLONASE, Nasacort, and RHINOCORT.
Antihistamines: These medications are available as pills, liquids, eye drops, or nasal sprays, and they help to relieve sneezing, itchy eyes, runny noses, and nasal stuffiness. Some of these medications can cause drowsiness. Examples of antihistamines include ZYRTEC, Claritin, Allegra, CLARINEX, and Astepro.
Decongestants: These medications are available as pills, liquids, nasal sprays, or nasal drops, and they help to alleviate stuffy noses by shrinking the lining of the nasal passages. These medications are best used for only a short period of time. Examples of these medications include SUDAFED, Vicks Sinex, and Afrin.
Cromolyn sodium: This nasal spray blocks the release of chemicals that cause allergy symptoms like histamines and leukotrienes, and it must be taken four times daily. An example of this medication is NasalCrom.
Leukotriene receptor antagonists (or modifiers): These medications block the action of chemical messengers that are involved in allergic reactions. Examples of this medication include SINGULAIR, Zyflo CR, and ACCOLATE.
Be sure to read about the side effects and warnings before starting a new medication. The AAFA also encourages those with seasonal allergies to speak with healthcare providers before, during, and after using a new medication.
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