Dayton is an ‘allergy capital.’ How to navigate spring allergy season here

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Dayton is ranked as one of the more challenging metros for allergy sufferers.

With flowers and and trees blooming, spring allergy season has arrived but there are steps that can help seasonal sufferers find relief.

The Dayton metro area in particular can be difficult for those with seasonal allergies. Dayton ranks 15th on a list of “allergy capitals” or metro areas based on how hard it is for people with allergies to live there, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Places that top the rankings score high on pollen counts and allergy medicine use, and low on available allergy doctors.

More than 50 million Americans are living with nasal allergies and about half of those people have seasonal pollen allergies, per the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

“We’re in peak season right now, in the early April timeframe,” said Brian Huxtable, air pollution control specialist with the Regional Air Pollution Control Agency.

Huxtable said now it is primarily tree allergy season and it will be about a month before the season starts to overlap with grass allergy season. Ragweed allergens will typically start around August.

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Climate change and rising carbon dioxide levels in the air also are increasing pollen, such as ragweed pollen. Researchers project if trends continue, the levels of ragweed pollen will double from 2000 levels to 2060. In Dayton, the foundation reported average spring temperatures have increased 2 degrees since 1970.

People can take steps to help their symptoms. Stay indoors on dry, windy days, if possible, and avoid tasks like lawnmowing or weed pulling. Avoid outdoor activity in the early morning when pollen counts are highest. The best time to go outside is after a good rain, which clears pollen from the air.

“That would be the best time to go for a walk, or get outside and get some exercise, for those with allergies,” said Kevin Baker, APRN with Premier Health Family Care in Vandalia.

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Baker recommends patients with heavy allergies change clothes when they come in from being outdoors for extended periods and shower.

“Showering, washing the hair, just removing all the dander and pollen that attaches to the skin, once you come inside helps — one, so you’re not consistently having it on your skin and two, so you’re not exposing the inside of your house to it,” Baker said.

Seasonal allergy signs and symptoms can flare up when there’s a lot of pollen in the air and Huxtable recommended that people also use the Pollen Wise app to check for local pollen levels.

These forecasts helps allergy sufferers to avoid long periods of outdoor activity when counts are high or if needed to start taking allergy medications before symptoms start. It also helps to close doors or windows at night when counts are high.

Nonprescription medications can ease allergy symptoms, such as oral antihistamines or rinsing your nasal passages with a saline solution such as with a neti pot bought at your local pharmacy.

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