Common Arizona Fall Allergens
Arizona used to be the place people went to escape allergies. Urbanization, including landscaping with lots of grass and plants in people’s yards, has caused the pollen count in Kingman, Arizona, to soar in recent years. Because the Arizona desert doesn’t have the temperate climate other regions do, plants can flower and produce pollen year-round, which means you’re never really free from Arizona allergens. This season, watch out for common Arizona fall allergens, and employ HVAC solutions like HEPA filters to keep the pollen out of your home.
If you’ve ever had hay fever, ragweed is to blame. Most ragweed species produce tiny flowers that make and release tons of pollen. Millions of Americans have ragweed allergies, and hay fever runs rampant throughout communities when pollen starts wafting off those little flowers. Las Vegas, which is less than two hours from Kingman, has one of the highest ragweed pollen counts in the United States.
Have someone check your ducts for leaks to ensure you’re not circulating ragweed throughout your home. Leaky ducts in areas of the home that aren’t insulated, like the attic or the crawl space, can pick up ragweed that enters your home through cracks around windows and doors, and circulate it into every room of the house.
Cypress and Juniper
In Arizona, the combination of cypress and juniper tree pollen causes what you probably know as “cedar fever.” These evergreen trees create a cocktail of pollens that cause allergic symptoms in many Arizona residents. If you have cedar fever, you’ll feel like you’re coming down with a cold or the flu, with a runny nose, itchy eyes, and an irritated throat from sinus drainage.
Cedar fever gets its foothold in winter, but you might start feeling symptoms in late fall. Take care of any cypress and juniper pollen that finds its way into your home by removing shoes and jackets as soon as you walk in the door. If your HVAC system can handle HEPA filters, use those. If it can’t, get the highest MERV rating filter your system supports, and think about getting a free-standing air purifier to neutralize any pollen you carry in on your clothing.
Alternaria mold is a common type of mold spore that exists across the U.S. and is typically found wherever there’s decay. Alternaria mold spore levels start to rise during the Arizona summer and hit their highest point during autumn. Fall harvests are one culprit for releasing Alternaria spores into the air, but the spores are easy to pick up any time you venture outdoors.
Make sure you’re controlling the humidity levels inside your home. Mold thrives in high humidity, and while you might like to increase the humidity inside to escape the dry Arizona air, don’t go above 30 percent humidity. Keep watch on humidity levels in the bathroom and kitchen, too. A smart thermostat with zoning capabilities will assist in managing your home’s humidity.
The tall Johnson Grass weed flowers in late spring and doesn’t finish until late October or early November. That means it has a long pollen season. Johnson Grass, under certain circumstances, is toxic to livestock. It’s also another cause of hay fever, can cause asthma attacks, and is a common eye irritant.
Because Johnson Grass likes to grow in ditches and in fields, keep an eye out for it when you’re in the wilderness. If you walk through any patches of it, be sure to remove your clothes as soon as you enter the house and put them in the wash.
Fall allergens are impossible to escape completely, but the right HVAC solutions will keep pollen spores at a minimum in your home. Breathe fresh air when you’re indoors by keeping windows and doors closed at all times during the fall. At Ambient Edge, we want to help you purify your indoor air of allergens and asthma triggers. Our talented technicians will perform any system maintenance or upgrades you need to have healthy indoor air. Give us a call at 928-377-4631 so we can help you with your IAQ.
Image provided by Shutterstock