Q: Atlanta is beautiful in the spring, but my allergies are so bad! Will moving to the desert make them go away?
A: Ragweed and grass pollens are triggers that are difficult to avoid almost everywhere in the continental United States during the spring and summer.
Although much of Arizona and New Mexico is arid, most people in the cities, suburbs, and small towns grow grass for lawns. Plus, the land has been disturbed by construction and landscaping, so weeds are widespread. Las Vegas, Tucson, and Phoenix have very high rates of allergies and asthma. Indoor allergens, such as mites, molds, and cockroaches, are also common in desert homes, especially when swamp coolers are used instead of air conditioning.
People get allergies because they’ve become sensitized to a different set of allergens, and the allergens to which you will be exposed vary considerably from one location to another. If you are considering a move to another community, talk with the locals about their allergies, or leave a question on the WebMD Asthma and Allergies message board asking about the new location.
Try to take a vacation to the area. Remember, some people with allergies do better in a new community for a year or two but then become sensitized to the allergens in their new home.
Paul Enright, MD, WebMD Allergy and Asthma Expert