Environment Health

Achoo! 3 Worst Connecticut Cities, This Allergy Season

5.4 percent of Latinos reported suffering from hay fever in the past year

The arrival of spring brings warmer weather and outdoor fun, but it also means the onslaught of seasonal allergies.

And no one is immune — not even Latinos.

A 2017 report by statista.com revealed that 5.4 percent of Latinos reported suffering from hay fever in the past year.

More than 50 million people across the country suffer from nasal allergies, with about half of those due to seasonal allergies, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA).

The AAFA recently released its Spring Allergy Capitals 2019 report, and three Connecticut cities made the top 50.

On the list of the 100 cities in the AAFP report, Hartford ranked 22 this year, up from the 26th spot in 2018. New Haven was right behind coming in at 23 in 2019, up one spot from the previous year. Both were rated worse than average in terms of spring allergies.

Bridgeport came in at number 40 this year, up eight spots from 48 in 2018. Overall it was rated average when it came to spring allergies.

In determining the rankings, AAFA analyzed three factors — pollen score, medication use and the number of allergy specialists in the area.

“Spring allergies can cause a lot of misery for millions of people in the U.S.,’ said Kenneth Mendez, AAFA President, and CEO. “Our Spring Allergy Capitals report highlights the cities that face the most challenges due to high pollen counts, high allergy medicine usage and lower access to specialized care by allergists.”

Dr. Mitchell Grayson, chair of the foundation’s Medical-Scientific Council, said, “This report helps people in these areas be more aware of what may contribute to their allergy symptoms so they can work with their health care providers to get relief. With the right treatment plan, seasonal allergies can be managed for a better quality of life.”

The outlook for increased allergens in the air doesn’t look good.

image (500x magnification) of pollen grains from a variety of common plants: sunflower (Helianthus annuus), morning glory (Ipomoea purpurea), prairie hollyhock (Sidalcea malviflora), oriental lily (Lilium auratum), evening primrose (Oenothera fruticosa), and castor bean (Ricinus communis).

Climate change is not only affecting rising temperatures and changes in worldwide weather patterns, but it’s also increasing airborne pollen levels and duration, according to the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI).

The AAAAI said climate changes may impact the pollen seasons of trees, grasses, and weeds by increasing the amount of pollen produced and by extending the duration of the pollen season.

To help reduce pollen exposure, the AAFA suggests the following:

  • On days with high pollen counts, limit outdoor activities
  • Keep windows closed and use HEPA air filters in central air conditioning
  • Use certified asthma and allergy friendly air cleaner or HVAC air filter
  • Use a nasal rinse to flush out inhaled pollen
  • Change and wash clothes after outdoor activities
  • Remove your shoes before entering the house

Options to help prevent or treat allergy symptoms include allergy medicines or immunotherapy shots or tablets which can be used as a long-term treatment. Various apps are also available to help monitor pollen levels.

It also suggests talking with your doctor to discuss the right treatment.

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