Last year the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America named El Paso, Texas as the 15th worst city in the country for spring allergies.

Two women with allergy symptom blowing their noses
Photodjo
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In Texas, only San Antonio and McAllen ranked higher than our town.

But WHY is El Paso so bad for allergies? Sure, we have all the usual suspects when it comes to allergens: grass, trees, and weeds.  But they have all of those things in MOST cities. El Paso is in the desert so most US cities have MORE grass, trees, and weeds than we do.

What gives?

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There are three things we do have in El Paso in abundance: hotter-than-average weather, high winds, and lots of dust and sand.  It turns out those three factors are the real “dark triad” for allergy sufferers in El Paso.

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Getty Images
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Here’s how it works: in other parts of the country, winter freeze along with rain and snowfall puts a damper on dirt and dust. El Paso stays warmer in the winter (usually) and it gets warmer earlier in the springtime here. Combined with the typical low amounts of rainfall and snow, our dirt and dust are more likely to dry out.

That hot, dry dirt, dust, and sand is just sitting there without much grass cover or vegetation to hold it in place. Then, when the strong winds come through (as they always do) all that dirt and dust get blown right up into the air.

There it mingles with other allergens from what vegetation we do have here. Add to that a neighboring city of over a million people where there are as many dirt roads as there are paved ones and it makes for one dusty, sandy, pollen-y mess.

joanna barba
joanna barba
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One thing experts do advise for allergy sufferers in El Paso: go to your doctor a couple of months BEFORE your allergies typically start and ask for them to load you up on prescribed medications.

It’s one of the times when you should start using the medicine before the illness…and, the stuff the doctor prescribes is much better than what you get over the counter.

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