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Sniffling and sneezing? San Diego's allergy season could be worse

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Posted at 5:56 PM, Mar 28, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-28 20:56:34-04

(KGTV) - Sniffling? Sneezing? Despite the blossoms and lush greenery that resulted from our winter rain, San Diego isn’t too bad for allergy sufferers.

The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America ranked cities on factors including the pollen score, medicine utilization per patient, and board-certified allergists per patient.

Overall, San Diego was 88 out of 100 cities, with average scores for pollen and allergists, and above average for medicine utilization.

RELATED: Wet winter brings early allergy season to San Diego

The worst city in the nation was McAllen, Texas, followed by Jackson, Miss., and Providence, Rhode Island. The worst California city on the list was Fresno at number 31.

“Allergies are a major public health concern, with more than 50 million Americans suffering from allergies every year,” according to the AAFA.

That number may grow. Climate Central tracked data which suggest climate change may increase in the future.

"Global warming is extending the freeze-free season, giving plants more time to grow, flower, and produce pollen," according to the Climate Central study. Not only will the growing season last longer, the plants that produce pollen may create more of it.

Allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever, is triggered by pollen from trees, grass, weeds, or mold spores, the AAFA reports.

RELATED: Are you always sad in the spring? Allergy-mood link is real

According to Accuweather, San Diego's top pollen producer at the end of March was tree pollen. The AAFA reports trees are the usual allergy culprit in early spring, followed by grasses in late spring.

Allergies can cause sneezing, stuffy nose, runny nose, watery eyes, and itching.

On days that pollen is high, you can take steps to protect yourself, according to the AAFA.

  • Use air conditioning with HEPA air filtration
  • Wear a hat
  • Wash your hair before going to bed
  • Change your clothes after outdoor activities
  • Limit contact with pets that spend time outdoors, and wipe them off with a towel when they come inside
  • Use a nasal flush to rinse out inhaled pollen
  • Take off your shoes when you come indoors