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Beloved Austin greenbelt parks itself among worst spots for hay fever

Beloved Austin greenbelt parks itself among worst spots for hay fever

Barton Creek Greenbelt_near 360 access_2015
Austin’s Barton Creek Greenbelt ranks among the worst parks in the country for hay fever sufferers. Photo by Nicole Raney

This is certainly something to sneeze at: Austin’s Barton Creek Greenbelt ranks among the worst parks in the country for hay fever sufferers.

YorkTest, a provider of at-home health tests, looked at the five-day average for grass pollen counts at the country’s 150 largest parks to come up with its list of the worst parks for hay fever. The Barton Creek Greenbelt landed in fourth place, with an average grass pollen count of 106.8 grains per cubic meter.

Two parks in Nashville topped the list of the worst parks for hay fever, followed by a park in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. The only other Texas park among the 15 worst for hay fever was the 13th-ranked San Jacinto Battle Ground State Historic Site in LaPorte (average grass pollen count of 66 grains of cubic meter).

At the other end of the spectrum, San Antonio’s Rancho Diana Nature Park was one of the 10 of the largest U.S. parks where no grass pollen was detected.

“Though symptoms often resemble those of a cold, hay fever isn’t caused by a virus but a reaction to pollen, typically from grass in the summer. Highlighting the parks across the U.S. that have the highest pollen counts will help those who want to either try and avoid these areas or take necessary precautions to ease the symptoms,” YorkTest’s Kerri Ferriaioli says.

The Mayo Clinic explains that hay fever, also called allergic rhinitis, causes symptoms such as a runny nose, itchy eyes, congestion, sneezing, and sinus pressure. Indoor and outdoor allergens are the culprits.

Zyrtec, a maker of allergy medication, says hay fever symptoms typically appear in the spring, summer or early fall during peak times for tree, weed, and grass pollen, as well as mold spores.

More than 19 million American adults experience hay fever, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).