Seasonal allergies by the numbers
Seasonal allergies can flare up when plants produce pollen that become airborne, says ENT surgeon and board certified otolaryngologist Maureen Mulcahy of highly rated Lake Grove ENT in Lake Oswego, Ore. Weather conditions also can affect seasonal allergies. “When the weather is dry and there is wind or light breeze, the pollen will remain airborne longer and can travel farther,” she says. “Many people who suffer from seasonal allergies feel better when it’s raining — the pollen then sticks to the ground.” If your allergies are out of control, talk to an ear, nose and throat doctor or allergist, and check out these stats:
Seasonal allergies by the numbers:
• 3 common symptoms of seasonal allergies: sneezing, nasal congestion and watery or itchy eyes.
• People spend 10 percent of their time outdoors, on average.
• 40 million Americans have indoor/outdoor allergies as their primary allergy — or approximately 12 percent. Seven percent have skin allergies and 6 percent have food and drug allergies.
• 75 percent of allergic rhinitis sufferers are affected by ragweed.
• The hours from 5 to 10 a.m. is the time outdoor air is usually most heavily saturated with pollen.
• When pollen levels fall in the 9.7 to 12.0 range, seasonal allergy sufferers typically experience more severe symptoms.
• There are two major classes of over-the-counter medications for treating allergies: antihistamines and decongestants.
• 85 percent of people find relief from hay fever symptoms by using allergy shots.
• Children who have parents with an allergy of any type have a 1 out of 3 chance to develop an allergy.
• $14.5 billion is the approximate annual cost of allergies. Nearly $12.3 billion account for direct costs, such as doctor visits and medications, and approximately $2.2 billion account for indirect costs, such as missed work and lost productivity.
Sources: American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology; Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America; Environmental Protection Agency; Pollen.com