5 Best Places to Visit if You Have Allergies
From airfare costs to proximity to the location of the nearest beach, many factors go into choosing that perfect vacation destination. But what about your allergies?
As it turns out, some vacation spots are better for allergy sufferers than others. In heavily wooded regions like the northeast, seasonal allergens reign supreme.
“Pollens and molds are especially a problem in the northeast, where we have a lot of trees and rain,” Dr. Paul Ehrlich, clinical professor of pediatrics at New York University and board certified allergist, told weather.com. “Trees [are allergenic] because they shed pollen, rain [is allergenic] because it creates moisture, which means more mold.”
Here are five destinations that can reduce your risk of symptoms, making for a refreshing escape from the real world—and seasonal allergies.
THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST
The Pacific Northwest is unmatched in stunning coastal drives and cities that “keep it weird,” but it’s also a relative safe haven for allergy sufferers.
According to Ehrlich, ragweed pollens are scarce in the region during fall months. So it’s can be the perfect autumn trip.
“There is less ragweed west of the Mississippi,” Dr. Ehrlich said. “So for people who want to go somewhere in early fall, they would be better off going somewhere a little cooler and west. Like Oregon or Northern California.”
Another potential allergen in the northeast in fall, aside from ragweed, is mold from fallen leaves. Dr. Ehrlich says this is also scarce in the northwest.
“Once leaves start dying off, the wind blows up and the leaves are blown and underneath [the leaves] is water and molds,” he said. “Especially in the northeast where we have a lot of trees and rain. In California there are not many molds because there's not much water.”
THE ARID SOUTHWEST
Vibrant cities like Phoenix, Ariz. and Santa Fe, N.M. are also ideal for travel because their desert-like landscapes mean less pollination.
“In the desert, there’s not much pollination that time of year [fall],” Dr. Ehrlich said. “There’s not much growing in Arizona and New Mexico because there's a lot of desert areas. The problem is once people started moving out there, people started planting grass. But it's not nearly as bad as the northeast and southeast.”
SKIING IN COLORADO
Once the weather permits, hitting the slopes is a great way to escape allergies because snow kills pollen.
“Once you get snow and cold weather, you'll kill all pollen,” Dr. Ehrlich said. He often recommends skiing as a good vacation because “Going where there’s snow, there’s [not much] as far as allergies are concerned.”
Another low-pollen zone is the beach, where salt water breezes clear the air.
“Air from salt water is great because it’s not dusty and doesn’t have [plants that generate pollen] growing,” Dr. Ehrlich said. “If you wanted to go south and inland, you may have trouble because there’s dying vegetation. But by the Hamptons or south Florida, there’s nothing growing there.”
And finally, the most absolute way to escape the pollen caused by vegetation is to get off land completely.
“When you think about it, you are fine because you’re off shore and there’s nothing growing out there [on a cruise],” Dr. Ehrlich said.
But he does warn that you should be wary of mold from moisture.
“Some cruise ships can have water in the hull and people who spend time there and are allergic to mold -- there’s aspergillus, hormodendrum --- those can be on cruise ships. There’s not much you can do, if they have air conditioning in the ship that’s good. It can get very moist otherwise.”
Another way to curb mold allergies is to use Flonase Allergy Relief nasal spray, which provides 24-hour relief against some of the most common allergy symptoms like itchy and runny nose, itchy and watery eyes, sneezing and nasal congestion.