Allergenic Plants: 5 Worst Offenders
Avoid these top allergy-triggering plants
Depending on where you live in the country, spring may bring blooming pollens of ragweed and allergenic grasses can attack golfers in spring, summer and fall.
The allergen that triggers your own symptoms likely seems like the worst plant offender. The American Association for Asthma and Allergy has identified the actual worst offenders for most allergy sufferers in North America. If you think your allergies have worsened in recent years, ragweed may be the cause. Ragweed allergy season in North America has grown two to four weeks longer in recent years because of warmer temperatures and later fall frosts, according to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Here are some of the top allergy offenders:
What’s known as hay fever, is generally an allergy to pollen grains. The AAFA evaluates the worst cities for pollen allergies. Top of the list: Knoxville, Tenn.; Louisville, KY; Charlotte, NC; Jackson, Miss.; and Chattanooga, Tenn. These cities are the highest scorers for pollen counts.
As the name indicates, cedar seeds are found in mountainous areas - most commonly in Arkansas, Missouri, Texas and Mexico. Symptoms can be so bad that the term “cedar fever” was coined to describe symptoms like the sneezing, itchy eyes and nose and congestion that accompany exposure to the seeds. The mountain cedar is actually a type of juniper tree that pollinates in the winter.
While so many of the worst offenders can be found in southern states, look to ryegrass in the dry, cool lawns of the northern United States. According to the AAFA, the peak time for allergies to ryegrass are spring and summer. People who are allergic to grass can also become allergic to melons, tomatoes and oranges, according to Dr. Clifford Bassett, medical director of Allergy and Asthma Care in New York and a board member of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI).
Beautiful maple trees, mainly in the eastern United States and Canada, won’t seem so appealing to maple allergy sufferers in the spring, when varieties like red silver, sugar maple and ash leaf maple plants are at their peak.
According to the AAFA, 75 percent of Americans are allergic to ragweed in summer and fall. By late summer some 10 to 20 percent of Americans suffer from symptoms like sneezing, stuffy and runny noses. You’ll find it most in the Midwest and the Mississippi River Basin. Although a ragweed plant produces up to one billion pollen grains, a plant lives only one season. So ragweed allergy sufferers can look for comfort as frosts set in and kill the plants.
What you can do:
As always, track pollen counts for our area: You can call the National Allergy Bureau at (800)-9-POLLEN, or check it out on the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. It will give you the pollen count for your region.
Stay indoors in central air conditioning with a HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter attachment when the pollen count is high. This will remove pollen from the indoor air.