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The Air Quality Blog by Rabbit Air

Why Oregon Has the Worst Allergies in the Country

Jim Lukach/flickr

The Pacific Northwest is home to some of the nation's most beautiful landscapes  as well as its worst pollen count. We explain what greenery is to blame and what you can do to breathe more easily.

For those with allergies, early summer is always a difficult period. But if you're in the Pacific Northwest — particularly in Oregon — you might have earned the right to complain a bit more than the rest of us. 

Popular website, Pollen.com, tracks cities around the country and ranks the presence of airborne pollen on a 0-12 point scale. Out of the 28 Oregonian cities ranked, six were tied for the worst possible ranking, each receiving a 10.8 out of 12, according to KPTV. While not among the six, Portland received a still alarming 9.1.

Take a look at this Pollen.com map forecasting national allergy information and you'll see the state is engulfed in a yellow blob, indicating the region’s exceedingly high rates of pollen.

Grass and Trees and Weeds, Oh My!

If you're reading this in Oregon, you're probably all too aware of this situation. But what is it about the Northwest that makes summertime so uncomfortable for the 10-30% of the population suffering with watery eyes and running noses?

If you're seeking a culprit, look no further than the seemingly innocuous trees and grass life around you. Birch and alder, trees native to Oregon, are particularly guilty, according to WebMD. Pine trees, which can coat surfaces (say, car windshields) in a layer of pollen, are actually not the worst offenders. The heavier grains of pine pollen mean less air-time and more trips to the car wash. 

Grasses reach peak pollination in May and June, with Bermuda, orchard, wheat, and fescue grasses the main perpetrators. Summer is also weed season, with plantain weed causing the most trouble for the allergy-afflicted.

The Fresh Air Cure

Kevin Dooley/flickr

In light of this, what is an Oregonner to do (or a Husker, Hoosier, or Buckeye, for that matter)? We've collected the most tried-and-true cures for summertime ear, nose, and throat irritation for you right here:

  • Restrict outings to mornings and evenings, as allergies are at their worst in the middle of the day.
  • Keep your doors and windows closed.
  • Wear a dust mask when mowing, or avoid freshly mown lawns altogether.
  • When it comes to allergies, cleanliness is next to godliness. Vacuum carpets and wash your bedsheets regularly during pollen season.
  • Brace for outdoor adventures with an antihistamine.
  • For the cleanest indoor air, enlist the aid of an air purifier, such as a Rabbit Air, to trap and reduce airborne allergens, providing much-needed relief. 

Allergies definitely put a damper on the summer festivities, but RabbitAir purifiers will have you feeling less miserable and enjoying the sun in no time! With filters that can be specialized to deal with pollen, dander, or odor from secondhand smoke, the only thing between you and a sniffle-free summer is a call to Rabbit Air.

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The Cutest Dogs That Allergy Sufferers Really Shouldn't Have

Luke Ma/flickr

As cute as they are, these are dogs that you’ll want to avoid if you’re striving for an allergy-free lifestyle.

For this post, we surveyed everyone in the entire world on the subject of dogs, and the results are in: they all agreed that dogs are so, so, so cute. In fact, they’re basically little charming pillows that shower you with blinding and unconditional love. 

Do your best friends scream and shout and fling themselves at you just because you went through the simple motion of walking inside? Didn’t think so. Dogs, however, can look adorable doing anything. For all of these reasons and more, we strongly recommend that each and every human being have a dog. No questions asked. 

Well, one question might be worth asking: Do you have dog allergies? If the answer is yes, you might want to steer clear of any breed on this list of sneeze-inducing pups. Because of the unique quality of these dogs’ fur, their tendency to shed or slobber, or their flaky skin, they can produce quite a lot of allergens. 

For people with dog allergies, the proteins in a canine’s saliva, dander, hair, and urine cause their immune systems to overreact, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. What’s worse, their hair or dander can gather mold, pollen, or spores when they’re running about outdoors, making double doggy trouble for allergy sufferers.

Though there’s no such thing as a truly “hypoallergenic” dog, the following pups are particularly rough on those unlucky folks out there with pet allergies.

Stately St. Bernard

KNLphotos2010/flickr

Truly incredible. It’s hard to imagine a sleeker mane, and it’s even harder not to picture a child gently nestled into this pooch's side, soundly sleeping. These are the kinds of dogs that complete a family. But if you have allergies, I’m sure there are other good pets, too, right?

French Bulldog


Bruno Cordioli/flickr

Wow. This pup is absolutely devastating. The ears! That eager and inquiring little face! We never thought we’d say it, but this is the kind of cuteness that’s just too much for any human being with a heart to bare. Unfortunately, thanks to this pup’s tendency to slobber everywhere, allergies would make living with this guy pretty tough to bear, too. 

German Shepherd

Marilyn Peddle/flickr

I’m literally jumping. If a team of scientists were to try to create an algorithm that could quantify the cuteness, they would surely be driven insane. Unfortunately, there’s no scientist in the world that can cure you of the allergies that are keeping you from this all-star pup.

Boston Terrier


Sendai Blog/flickr

This is one of the world’s cutest dogs — especially when it’s wearing hats. They’re unconditionally happy, portable, and affectionate little gentlemen, easily pictured wearing a tiny monocle and a truly perfect new member for any home. Unless, of course, you have allergies.

Springer Spaniel 

Tony Harrison/flickr

I once knew a Springer, and some of my fondest memories include spending hours tousling his perfect, unbelievable shiny fur. I can still picture staring into his clear, honest eyes, communicating with him with a perfect purity that only a shared childhood can bring. I would assume you can build those kinds of bonds with a fish if you’ve got allergies, but I can’t make any promises.

Dachshund

Lachlan Hardy/flickr

Ah. The closest thing to a football that dogkind has to offer, the Dachshund truly captures our hearts. I can just picture slumping this guy over my shoulder like a sack of tiny potatoes. This form of cuteness is almost too powerful to touch. If only it weren’t for your poor, allergy-ridden soul.

But Really

Okay, so the news isn’t as bad as it seems. While having medium-to-severe allergies can sometimes make it tough to have pets like these, there are actually plenty of ways to make having a dander-heavy animal a happy experience.

According to the Nest, simple things like giving your dog regular baths help tremendously to clear up the air and minimize shedding. One of the best things you can do to minimize allergy symptoms is to find a high-quality air purifier to keep the allergens at bay at all hours — some of the best models are available here, from Rabbit Air. As long as you’re diligent, having a dog is no problem — even if you’re cursed for life with pesky allergies.

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6 Things Only People with Allergies Will Understand

mait/flickr

A list of allergy symptoms that can turn spring into a terrifying season. 

Spring: A Curse and a Blessing

It’s that time of the year again: spring, the season of hope and new beginnings. For some, however, it’s the season of despair, and those beautiful, blooming flowers can only mean one thing: it’s allergy season. Lots of people struggle with allergies, and the first whiff of pollen will have them running for the hills.

Unfortunately for this demographic, the allergen forecast for 2015 does not look good. New York Magazine has predicted a “Pollen Tsunami” caused by high levels of winter precipitation, a late spring bloom, and record temperature highs this summer.

This is virtually a nightmare for anyone with allergies, and people should expect higher pharmacy sales and traffic as Americans stock up on Claritin, Allegra, and Zyrtec in anticipation of the season’s horrors.

As the American College of Asthma, Allergies and Immunology points out, allergies come from “allergic sensitivity to airborne mold spores or to pollens from grass, trees and weeds.”

So what are the absolute worst effects of allergy season? What symptoms will have you hiding indoors, covering yourself in blankets, and attempting to hibernate until fall? Here are one reporter’s seven worst allergy symptoms, paired with examples of what you might have to deal with if you’re one of the unlucky few who suffer from allergies. 

Six Terrible Symptoms

1. Itching

One of the worst, as well as the most universal allergy symptom is — you guessed it — itching. What could be worse than going on a nice date on a spring afternoon, soaking up the sun in your local park with a potential romantic companion, and all of a sudden feeling a nasty itch creep up your arm?

Suddenly, you’re beset by the unbearable urge to scratch yourself until the excruciating pain stops. What’s distressing is that scratching won’t help cure the discomfort — only antihistamines will do the trick. And it only gets worse.

2. Headaches

Headaches are “caused by nasal congestion,” says the ACAAI. They make you cranky and irritable, they’re distracting, and they’re often nearly impossible to get rid of. While Advil, Tylenol, or Aspirin might help ease the effects, medicine can only go so far. Be prepared to excuse yourself from the dinner table so that you can quietly cry in a corner, because allergy headaches are downright awful.

3. Snoring

All that congestion means you probably won’t be able to breathe out of your nose, which also means you’ll have to start breathing out of your mouth, and eventually, you’re going to start snoring. People won’t want to sit near a creepy mouth-breather, let alone sleep next to one.

The sniffles are perhaps the most subtle, yet infuriating of allergy symptoms — whether you’re the serial sniffler or just in the vicinity of one. Having a stuffed-up nose is no fun, especially when it’s for an entire season. The ACAII explains how this symptom can come from either “outdoor allergens, such as pollens from grass, trees, and weeds,” or “indoor allergens, such as pet hair or dander, dust mites and mold.”

4. Sneezing

Be sure to have Kleenex on hand at all times, because you’re about to become a snot machine. You’ll probably set personal records for how many times you can sneeze in a row — why not keep track and try to beat your own record?

5. Swelling

Beyond your red, scratchy eyes, you might also have to worry about your face swelling up to enormous proportions. Surprise — swelling doesn’t look good on anyone. But don’t worry: according to Pollen.com, allergies are just “your body's defense system (the immune system) overreact[ing] when defending itself.”

6. Pharmacy Bills

Perhaps the worst thing of all is the fact that anytime one of these many symptoms emerges, you’ll be sprinting to the medicine cabinet to grab a new pill or some anti-itching cream to help you. Be ready to make friends with your local pharmacist — and to drop half of your paycheck on pills. For tips on environmental control, the ACAAI has some great recommendations for keeping your allergy symptoms at bay.

If devouring medicine isn’t your thing, consider one of Rabbit Air’s high-quality air purifiers — they’ll protect you from the hazards of allergy season and give you some clean space to breath in. An air purifier might be your best bet against misery and social exile.

Best of luck, my fellow allergy sufferers. This spring, you’re going to need it.

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