Tissue time

San Antonio nature spot climbs onto list of best parks for allergy sufferers

San Antonio spot climbs onto list of best parks for the allergy-prone

San Antonio park trail trees
One San Antonio park has a zero pollen count, according to a new study of the best and worst parks for hay fever. San Antonio Parks and Recreation Department/Facebook

This is certainly not something to sneeze at; one of San Antonio's favorite nature destinations, Rancho Diana, has been named among the best parks for zero pollen.

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 best (and worst) parks for hay fever. Rancho Diana landed No. 6 on the list, sharing the top 10 ranking with several cities in Hawaii, Alaska, and Oklahoma. 

"Parks such as Chugach State park in Alaska, Bonita Lakes park in Mississippi, Rancho Diana in Texas, Ahupua’a O Kahana State Park in Hawaii and more all came equal to first place with 0 pollen count compared to Percy Warner Park reaching highs of 162.4 grains per cubic meter in Nashville, Tennessee," reads a blog post summary of the study on the YorkTest website. 

At the other end of the spectrum, the Barton Creek Greenbelt in Austin landed in fourth place on the list of worst parks for hay fever, with an average grass pollen count of 106.8 grains per cubic meter.

Two parks in Nashville topped that list, 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).

“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).