June 26, 2018 5 Highly Common Allergens in Upstate New York Living in Upstate New York upstate has its perks. From the Catskills to the Adirondacks, we are surrounded by an abundance of nature. But with all of the beautiful mountains, open fields and wooded areas also come challenges for those with allergies. In fact, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America ranked Syracuse, Rochester, Buffalo and Albany among the “100 Most Challenging Places to Live with Spring Allergies in the United States”. The Spring is a particularly notable time for allergies as emerging pollen and built up dust that is unearthed by spring cleaning can become a major issue. But allergies aren’t just a Spring fling around here. From early summer through the fall various allergens have their moment. So which allergens are dominate in our area? We’ll cover some of the big ones to watch. Grass Grass is a huge allergy trigger for many people, especially in the spring when it first starts to reemerge after Winter. Of all the pollen circulating the air 85% of it is grass pollen. Grass allergy symptoms can be some of the most persistent and difficult to treat, but allergy shots and medications can be helpful. Common grass allergen species upstate include; Common Timothy, Orchard Grass, Large Sweet Vernal Grass, and Nodding Fescue. If you’re experiencing nasal congestion, itchy/watery eyes, or rashes you may be allergic to grass pollen. Trees As trees begin to bloom in the Spring after a long winter, they release fine pollen into the air that can then travel miles away. The most common tree allergies upstate are those of Oak trees, Ash trees, Hickory trees, Cedar trees and Maple trees. Birch trees are one of the most common allergies, particularly in the spring, and can produce up to 5 million grains of pollen that can travel over 100 yards away from their tree. Oak pollen is considered to be less allergenic compared to other tree pollens but it can also stay in the air for longer periods of time giving it more time to inflict symptoms. Mold Outdoor mold is responsible for many allergic reactions in the late summer and fall as this is the peak time for sporing. Numbers of spores can increase on hotter and more humid days because mold thrives in moisture and heat, both indoors and outdoors. You may be allergic to mold if you experience worsening symptoms in damp or moldy places. To prevent mold indoors be sure to rid your home of any excess moisture, by using dehumidifiers, and making sure any leaks are repaired quickly. Ragweed Peaking in mid-September, but floating around throughout the late summer and fall, Ragweed is another common upstate allergen. In our area we have a few different species to worry about; Perennial Ragweed, Great Ragweed, Annual Ragweed and Lance-Leaf Ragweed. Those allergic to Ragweed may experience symptoms similar to most other pollen specific allergies. Common symptoms include; sneezing, runny nose, congestion, headaches, red or itchy eyes, or irritated throat. The ragweed is also known to aggravate symptoms of asthma. If you are allergic to Ragweed and experience seasonal symptoms, you can talk to your doctor about a prescription that is started 12 weeks before the beginning of the season to help mitigate symptoms. Dust Those allergic to dust may actually suffer the most inside. One of the most common indoor allergens, dust can be a year-round annoyance but air conditioning in the Summer can exacerbate allergies . Symptoms may also increase during, or directly following vacuuming, dusting or cleaning due to dust mites being kicked up into the air. Dust mites are microscopic organisms that live off of eating dust and moisture in the air. Common symptoms include watery/irritated eyes, sneezing, coughing or itching. To help reduce symptoms be sure to keep your home clean (and to use a mask while cleaning), control humidity in the home, and reduce excess fabric like curtains and carpets where dust can build up. If you suspect you have an allergy, it is best to find out which allergens are your specific triggers in order to receive the best treatment, at the right time. While blanket over the counter medicines can be tempting, you may find more relief by focusing on the allergens that affect you most. Simple skin tests can be performed by your doctor to determine any allergies you may have, and help you find the right medicine. At Appolo we also recommend looking into indoor air quality solutions and air filtration options that can help you keep the air you breathe at home as clean as possible.