Planning a weekend getaway during allergy season can be tricky, since allergens and pollen counts vary from place to place. Thankfully, the folks at Weather.com and the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America have done the legwork for you. Here are some highlights of their list of the 10 U.S. cities allergy sufferers should steer clear of this spring:
Researchers ranked Knoxville number one on their list of cities with the worst seasonal allergies, based on its pollen count, local sales of allergy medications, and the number of allergy specialists in the area. The verdant Appalachian Mountains and their abundant native trees do allergy sufferers in when tree pollen hits its peak in mid-April. But it’s not safe to leave the tissues home yet—grass pollen peaks in late spring, followed by weed pollen in late summer/early fall.
If you want to avoid sneezing into your mint julep on Derby Day, avoid Louisville come spring. Built on an Ohio River flood plane beneath grassy hills (hence the term “bluegrass”), what’s now Louisville was once a giant swamp. Warm, moist air and plenty of grass and trees add up to severe seasonal allergies. Mid-April is when tree pollen is at its worst, but grass pollen peaks soon after in early May.
Charlotte, North Carolina
Mild winters and steamy summers make subtropical Charlotte a year-round challenge for allergy sufferers. Tree pollen peaks in April, grass pollen in late May, and weed pollen in September. Even the winter’s not safe for those prone to sneezing, as a damp December, January, or February can cause an outbreak of irritating mold.
Sticky, humid summers and rainy springs put Dayton high on the list of cities to avoid during allergy season. The elm, maple, cedar, and alder trees that line the city’s streets and parks are the worst offenders for tree pollen, which hits its peak in April. The grass pollen peak arrives just in time for summer in late June.
Richmond boasts 40 public parks comprising one of the oldest municipal park systems in the country. The city’s emphasis on nature and the outdoors means a high quality of life for residents and visitors—but it also means plenty of tree and grass pollen in the spring. Tree pollen hits its peak in mid-April, while early June is peak for grass pollen.
Madison’s humid climate and high variation in temperatures between seasons means that after a long, cold, dormant winter, warmer weather causes trees to suddenly burst into bloom. The tree pollen count peaks in late spring, which may make Wisconsin’s capital city a less-than-ideal Memorial Day weekend destination.