Allergies can be a real pain – both figuratively and literally.
We all get little cases of the sniffles here and there, but these can turn into full-blown asthma attacks for people with severe pollen allergies. Some people deal with allergies that are so severe they can't even go outside without reacting and must frequently visit allergy specialists. These people are often looking for anything that can help them manage their allergies better, including medications and allergy treatments.
To help, we've put together a list of the best states for people with allergies using an Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) report.
Find out the best U.S. cities to live in for seasonal allergies and what to do when your allergies are acting up.
What Are Seasonal Allergies?
Most seasonal allergies are caused by pollen released by plants into the air during allergy season. The most common of these allergens come from the pollen released from trees, grasses, and weeds. Most people with seasonal allergies deal with symptoms in the spring, but they can happen at any time of year.
The allergens in season can change throughout the year, so you might be allergic to pollen released by plants in the spring, but not the pollen released in the fall.
What separates seasonal and year-round allergies is that the former subside when the allergen is no longer in season. Most plants only release pollen during certain times of the year.
So, if you're allergic to pollen, your symptoms will go away when pollen season is over for the plants that you are allergic to. The same can't be said for pet or dust allergies, which can persist all year.
What Causes Allergies?
Seasonal allergies are caused by an overreaction of the immune system. The body mistakes pollen for a dangerous invader and produces antibodies to fight it off. The next time you're exposed to pollen, these antibodies signal your immune system to release histamine and other chemicals into your bloodstream.
By trying to protect you and get the allergen out of your body, these chemicals cause the symptoms of an allergic reaction.
The harmless pollen particles that cause your seasonal allergy symptoms are tiny — too small to be seen with the naked eye. They're carried by the wind and can travel for miles, which makes them hard to avoid. Other factors that can impact your allergies include:
Time of Day
Your body may be more sensitive to pollen at certain times of the day, such as the early morning or late afternoon.
Seasonal allergies can also worsen on warm, dry, windy days when there's more pollen in the air. The pollen count — a measure of the amount of pollen in the air — is highest during these times due to how temperature and weather patterns affect pollen release.
Warmer weather also means that plants release pollen earlier in the year and for a longer period.
So even if you've never had seasonal allergies before, you may start to experience symptoms as the climate changes.
Seasonal Allergy Symptoms
Allergy symptoms can vary by person depending on the severity of your allergies. If you have seasonal allergies, you're probably familiar with some of the most common symptoms:
- Runny nose
- Itchy eyes
- Watery eyes
- Itchy nose or throat
An allergen can trigger a potentially life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis in severe cases. Anaphylaxis can cause your throat or tongue to swell, making breathing difficult.
It can also cause a sudden drop in blood pressure, making you feel lightheaded or dizzy. Anaphylaxis can be fatal, so it's vital to get emergency medical treatment immediately if you or someone you're with develops these symptoms.
Best Place to Live With Allergies
Climate change, air pollution, and seasonal pollen are all factors we considered when compiling this list of the best places to live for allergy sufferers.
When it comes to allergies, some states are better than average. Due to the diverse climate, topography, and geography of the United States, various allergies and sensitivities affect people differently all over the country.
Pollen exists nearly everywhere, but thankfully, data shows a few places across the U.S. are more accommodating for people with allergies.
Best States and Cities for Allergies
According to the AAFA, some of the best places to live with allergies include:
- Seattle, Washington
- Durham, North Carolina
- San Francisco, California
- San Jose, California
- Portland, Oregon
- Sacramento, California
- Denver, Colorado
- Provo, Utah
- Phoenix, Arizona
- Fresno, California
Data shows coastal areas tend to have lower pollen counts, as do areas with little vegetation.
Dry areas like Denver, CO., can also be good for allergy sufferers, as are mountain areas like Seattle, WA.
However, be careful of dry, windy days if you live in an area with high pollen counts since the wind can make it easy for pollen to travel.
How Do Weather And Temperature Affect Pollen Count?
The best cities for allergies often have mild weather with slight temperature variations. They also tend to be located near bodies of water, which can help to reduce the pollen count. There are a few more ways that weather can affect pollen count:
- Wind: Can disperse pollen into the air, where it can be breathed in by people and cause allergies.
- Sun: Pollen that is released at night will settle on the ground, where it will be waiting for the sun to warm it up so that it can rise back into the air.
- Rain: Can wash pollen away from plants, reducing the pollen count.
- Higher temperatures: Warmer weather throughout the year can increase the length of pollen season and cause plants to release more pollen into the air.
- Humidity: Even in the fall, humidity can cause pollen to stick to surfaces, reducing the amount of airborne pollen.
- Thunderstorms: Some weather conditions, such as a thunderstorm, can help to reduce the pollen count by clearing the air of pollen.
Coastal cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Seattle are often good choices for people with allergies since they tend to have lower pollen counts.
How To Manage Seasonal and Year-Round Allergies
Limit Exposure to Allergens
The best way to manage your allergies is to limit your exposure to the things that trigger your symptoms.
If you can't avoid them completely, you can do several things to reduce your exposure.
- Stay indoors when pollen counts are high: Pollen counts are typically highest in the early morning and late afternoon. Stay indoors during these times to reduce your exposure to pollen.
- Wear a mask outside: Wear a dust mask or respirator when you have to be outdoors to reduce the amount of pollen you breathe in.
- Shower and change your clothes: After you’ve been outdoors, try to shower and change into a fresh set of clothes. This will remove pollen and other allergens from your skin and hair, and prevent you from tracking in as much pollen into your house.
- Keep your windows closed: This will help prevent pollen and other allergens from entering your home.
- Use an air purifier in your home: This will help remove pollen and other allergens from the air.
- Clean the surfaces in your home that collect dust: This includes carpets, rugs, and upholstered furniture.
- Wash your pillowcases and sheets often: This will help remove pollen and other allergens from your bedding, and reduce your nighttime allergy symptoms.
Over-the-counter (OTC) Medications
Several OTC medications can temporarily relieve the symptoms of allergies during spring and fall. These include antihistamines, decongestants, and nasal sprays.
Antihistamines: Antihistamines work by blocking the action of histamine. They can reduce symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, and watery eyes.
Decongestants: Decongestants work by narrowing the blood vessels in the nose. This reduces swelling and congestion.
Nasal Sprays: Nasal sprays work by reducing inflammation in the nose. This helps to relieve congestion and other symptoms.
Sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) is a treatment that involves exposing your body to small amounts of what you are allergic to. Sublingual immunotherapy, also known as allergy drops and tablets, contains trace amounts of the allergens you are allergic to.
SLIT helps the body build up immunity to allergens, such as pollen, dust mites, and pet dander. Over time, your body becomes desensitized to your allergies, resulting in long-term symptom relief.
Sublingual immunotherapy uses the same science as allergy shots and is just as effective. However, unlike allergy shots, sublingual immunotherapy can be safely taken from the comfort of your home and doesn’t require frequent trips to the doctor’s office or uncomfortable injections.
Take Our Allergy Assessment
If you're ready for long-term effective allergy relief solutions, choose Wyndly! Our allergy specialists will work to create a personalized treatment plan to improve your quality of life and help you live free from your allergies.
Get started today with our quick online assessment to see if Wyndly is right for you!