Ask anyone in the LINC office or anyone who sees me on a regular basis, and they’ll all confirm: I have more than a bit of experience with allergies. If I were one of Snow White’s seven dwarves, I’d be Sneezy. I’m allotted one “bless you” in the morning and one in the afternoon, because otherwise, I’d tire everyone out. What I didn’t know prior to moving to the Lehigh Valley is that it consistently ranks in the top 100 “allergy capitals” of America; Allentown ranked 59th most challenging place to live with spring allergies and 19th most challenging place to live with asthma in 2015. Two main factors conspire to make this all possible: pollen and other allergens settle in the Valley, and long winters can delay spring for enough time that different types of pollen are released all at once into a dizzying waltz that adorns the windshields and irritates the eyes and noses of many.
Trust me – myself and any other similarly allergy-afflicted individual can tell you that adjusting to the pollen-heavy nature of the Lehigh Valley can be a bit difficult at first, but there’s a plethora of helpful resources available to you. Most allergists recommend an allergy test as the first course of treatment, and there’s plenty of nationally ranked healthcare providers in the Lehigh Valley who can do this for you. Mobile applications like AccuWeather and Allergy Alert can give you a daily pollen report so you can prepare accordingly before going about your day. Pollen.com offers reports for various pollen types, maps, resources, and tools to help you manage your allergies. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America website houses educational documents on allergy causes and treatments, as well as reports on the allergy and asthma conditions of cities across the nation. I myself find that regularly taking over-the-counter allergy pills helps keep my allergies in check, and I buy 365-count bottles on Amazon to get the best deal. However, over-the-counter medications can actually exacerbate your allergies if not appropriate for you, so if you’re unsure of where to start, try talking to a pharmacist or doctor to find a fitting allergy management solution.
While this aspect of the area may prove challenging in the beginning, I strongly believe almost every Lehigh Valley resident will tell you that when warm weather graces us, this issue will fade from thought. Countless festivals and concerts, farmers’ markets, outdoor activities, and breathtaking nature trails make the temptation to venture outside almost impossible to resist. Manage your allergies and heed the call of the outdoors, and you’ll fall in love with the Lehigh Valley.