Skip to content

Allergy Risks by Region of the U.S. continued...

The West

In Washington, Oregon, and California, tree pollination is usually in full swing from February to June.  Trees that are native cause the most allergy problems, says Richard W. Honsinger, MD, an allergist in Los Alamos, N.M., and a clinical professor of medicine at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine.

For instance, in the Pacific Northwest, pollen from the native alder and birch trees can make people with allergies miserable, he says.

In California, oak and walnut trees can be problematic for those with allergies, he says. Pine trees don't deserve their bad reputation, he says. "People always think pine pollen causes problems because they see it." When they park their car under pines in the mountain, he says, the car can be covered with the pollen.

"But pine is a heavy pollen, it falls to the ground," he says."It is airborne, but it settles. It doesn't float in the air as long so it doesn't provoke as strong an allergy attack."

In the dryer states of Arizona and New Mexico, trees such as cedar, ash, and oak pollinate from about February to April, Honsinger says.

Grass pollination in the West is high in May and June, Honsinger says.  Bermuda grass, orchard, wheat grass, and fescue are common in the West. Honsinger says, "If you are allergic to one grass, you are often allergic to almost all," with one exception. People allergic to Bermuda grasses are often allergic only to those, he finds.

Weed season in the West can extend from spring or early summer through fall. Among the offenders: plantain weed. Ragweed is not so much a problem in the Pacific Northwest and northern California, but it can be in Arizona and New Mexico. Ragweed can grow throughout the U.S., according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

The South

When it comes to allergies, Leftwich says, "Tennessee is where everything comes together," noting there are several different types of pollen flourishing there. His town, Nashville, Tenn., made No. 47 on the list.

Nashville has plenty of Southern state company on the worst cities for allergies list, and for reasons that make sense, Leftwich says. ''The longer the growing season, the worse it is for allergies," he says.

A second factor is rainfall. So people with allergies who live in a Southern city with a temperate climate, long growing season, and plenty of rain can expect to sneeze a lot.

In the south, tree pollen season is roughly February through May, with pollens from oak, cedar, and pecan trees the worst allergy triggers. Birch and hickory trees can also provoke allergies, Leftwich says.

"Grasses can be a problem in the South year round," he says. Commonly planted grasses include fescue, rye, and bluegrass. Never mind the type. Often, someone who is allergic to one of those will be allergic to all, he says.

WebMD Video Series

Outdoor Exercise and Allergies

Don't let seasonal allergies stop your exercise routine. Get tips for outdoor fitness all year long.

Click here to watch video: WebMD Video Series