Wichita’s top ranking is something to sneeze at

By The Active Age | April 1, 2024

There’s apparently no place like Wichita to experience that sniffling, sneezing, itchy, runny nose and watery eyes feeling. For the second year in a row, the city has been named the most challenging place in the United States to live with seasonal allergies by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

But there are a few things you can do about it.

The 2024 report on “Allergy Capitals” based its findings on our higher-than-average tree and grass pollen, higher-than-average allergy medicine use and lower-than-average number of board-certified allergists and immunologists. The nation’s 100 most populated metro areas were ranked.

The report notes that pollen causes symptoms for people with two common allergic conditions — seasonal allergic rhinitis, or “hay fever,” and allergic asthma. Spring’s warm weather brings people outdoors and into contact with tree pollen. Grass pollen follows later in spring and summer, and weed pollen — notably ragweed pollen — follows in the late summer and early fall.

According to the report, climate change, an increase in carbon dioxide in the air and the preference for planting wind-pollinating trees is leading to longer and more intense allergy seasons.

If you suffer from allergies, the report suggests:

• Limiting your contact with pollen. Daily pollen counts and forecasts can be found online at sites such as weather.com

• Using allergy medicines and treatments.

• Rinsing out your nose.

• Asking your doctor about immunology.

According to the Mayo Clinic’s website, other ways to limit exposure to allergy triggers are to:

• Stay indoors on dry, windy days. The best time to go outside is after a good rain, which helps clear pollen from the air.

• Avoid lawn mowing, weed pulling and other gardening chores that stir up allergens.

• Remove clothes you’ve worn outside and shower to rinse pollen from your skin and hair.

• Don’t hang laundry outside, where pollen can stick to it.

• Wear a face mask if you do outside chores.

• Use air conditioning in your house and car.