Every year the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America ranks the worst cities for allergies. In spring 2015, Dallas was the 19th worst. In spring 2016, it fell to 27th — better, but still one of the worst in the nation.
Texas is deep in the Pollen Belt — the region of the country that stretches from the southern Midwest to the Southeast. It’s the worst area for allergies in the nation.
If your child has seasonal allergies, they have some specific challenges living in the Dallas area. Unlike some other parts of the country, there’s a seasonal allergy for all four seasons:
February to June: Tree Pollen
The trees chiefly responsible for many spring allergies are ash, elm, pine, oak, pecan, hickory, poplar, and walnut trees. But removing them from your yard won’t protect your child from allergies. The wind can blow tree pollen miles away from where it originated.
March to September: Grass Pollen
This allergy season often peaks in summer. And yes, all those lawnmowers will help spread it. But even more grass pollen comes from wild uncut grass that grows on roadsides and other places.
Year round, but peaking in July through Late Summer: Mold
Mold consists of fungi that grow in damp and warm conditions. It accumulates on rotting logs, dead grass, fallen leaves, straw, and other plants. Spores go into the air which are blown in the wind just as pollen is.
And as the humidity rises, so does the mold. So the worst of it is in July and August. But that’s not the only time your child will be susceptible to mold allergies. It’s a yearlong problem because there isn’t cold weather in Texas to control outdoor mold.
August to November: Ragweed
Ragweed season is more intense in other areas of the country — such as in the Northeast and Midwest. But there it usually lasts about three weeks. In Texas, it goes on for four months.
Just one ragweed plant produces a billion pollen grains. And it doesn’t matter if your child lives far away from the rural areas where it usually grows. Ragweed pollen can travel hundreds of miles.
December to February: Mountain Cedar Pollen
Sometimes called “Cedar Fever” or “The Christmas Allergy,” it affects Texas during a time of year when it’s too cold in most areas of the country for plants, grasses, and trees to pollinate.
As with most seasonal allergies, the culprit is pollen. This is the powder that comes from plants, grasses, and trees that becomes windborne. This particular pollen comes from Ashe juniper trees — more popularly known as mountain cedar and largely indigenous to Central Texas. These evergreens produce the highest pollen counts of any pollinating plant in Texas.
Mountain cedar pollen counts are generally worst when it’s sunny and windy. The pollen counts vary from year to year. But if a lot of rain precedes the season, expect it to be worse. That’s because rain produces healthier juniper trees which will emit more pollen.