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Your nose knows it’s spring

Tuesday (March 20) was the vernal equinox – otherwise known as the official end of winter and the start of spring. But even if you didn’t look at your calendar, chances are your nose already figured it out. 

Tuesday (March 20) was the vernal equinox – otherwise known as the official end of winter and the start of spring. But even if you didn’t look at your calendar, chances are your nose already figured it out.

That’s because more than 40 million American have nasal allergies (also called, allergic rhinitis or “hay fever”). Springtime allergy triggers – primarily tree pollen – cause symptoms including itchy runny nose, nasal and sinus congestion, repeated sneezing, watery eyes, inflamed sinuses and, in severe cases, difficulty breathing due to all of these symptoms. Nasal allergy symptoms can be even more problematic if you also have asthma.

The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) this week announced its 2012 Spring Allergy Capitals™ rankings with Knoxville topping the list for the third consecutive year. Memphis came in at No. 8. The annual report, which identifies the 100 “most challenging” U.S. cities to live in with spring allergies, is based on a scientific analysis of three factors including pollen scores, number of allergy medications used per patient and number of board certified allergists per patient. (See the full 2012 rankings at www.AllergyCapitals.com.)

The Spring Allergy Capitals ranking is part of the Foundation’s multi-year and multi-season campaign to help patients and consumers recognize, prevent and safely manage allergy symptoms.
 

The Top 10


1. Knoxville – 100.00
2. McAllen, Texas – 96.71
3. Louisville – 93.31
4. Jackson, Miss. – 92.85
5. Wichita, Kans. – 91.36
6. Oklahoma City – 90.57
7. Chattanooga – 89.63
8. Memphis – 85.19
9. San Antonio – 84.41
10. Dayton, Ohio – 82.15
 

Tips for allergy suffers

 
• Relieve your symptoms: Many health plans ask patients to look in the pharmacy first for allergy relief, so talk to your pharmacist about over-the-counter options such as sinus washing, nasal rinsing/irrigation, antihistamines and other options. If symptoms become more frequent or severe, talk to your doctor.

• Prevent pollen from getting indoors: You can reduce the number of outdoor allergens such as pollen and mold from entering the home by keeping windows and doors closed and setting the air conditioner on re-circulate.

• Vacuum once or twice weekly: Vacuuming helps keep indoor allergens to a minimum. If you have allergies, wear a dust mask while doing spring cleaning indoors and, when you use cleaning sprays leave the house for several hours after cleaning to air it out.

• Be smart about timing outdoors: Trees tend to pollinate first thing in the morning making pollen counts in the early hours very high. By noon, pollen counts are less than half just a few hours earlier. So plan your outdoor activities after lunch or in the evening to avoid the extreme pollen of the morning.

 

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