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Sneezing a lot? This might be the problem

Posted: 6:06 AM, Mar 24, 2016
Updated: 2016-03-24 09:06:00-04

Your allergies probably have you reaching for the tissues, the eye drops, and anything else that can give you some relief--but did you know that some of our sneezing and hacking may actually be self-inflicted here in the Valley? 

The sneezing, the coughing, the stuff nose, and itchy eyes -- your allergies are probably driving you crazy right now!

"It's a rough time of year," explains Kimberlie McCue, Ph.D, assistant director of research, conservation, and collections at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix. 

If you've been sneezing or sniffling, seemingly 24/7, you're not alone! Pollen levels have been elevated lately, sending allergies into a tailspin. But we can't blame Mother Nature entirely; in fact, we humans are part of the problem. 

"A lot of people in Phoenix came from somewhere else. They came from the Midwest, the east coast, and they brought their plants with them." 

You know what else they brought? Their allergens! Dr. McCue says the addition of non-native plant species have impacted a lot of people (and their noses.) 

Dr. McCue says some of the biggest offenders include turf grasses and pine trees. 

"They're wind-pollinated so they're producing lots and lots of pollen."

And that pollen is everywhere! Dr. McCue says this is just another reason why you should stick with desert landscape, which she says is surprisingly colorful, lush, and green here in the Sonoran Desert. 

Succulents are just one option and a great place to start; they grow fast, and chances are they won't stuff you up!

But, there are some common, native plants in the desert that could have you reaching for the Kleenex. Trees like mesquite, juniper, and cottonwood are common allergens, but for the most part, typical desert landscape plants can be a little easier on your body. 

Here's a full list of common allergens in the Valley: 

GRASSES

Bahia, Johnson, Perennial Rye – Pollination ( March to September), Sweet Vernal, Timothy, Western Wheat, Brome Grass, Kentucky Blue, Meadow Fescue, Orchard, Bermuda – Pollination (March to October), Quack, Red Top

TREES

Privet, Hickory, Western Juniper – Pollination (December to March), Willow, Acacia, Arizona Ash- Pollination (February to April), Spring Birch, Mountain Cedar, Box Elder, Western Cottonwood- Pollination (January to March), Arizona Cypress, Eucalyptus, Mesquite- Pollination ( March to May), White Mulberry, Arizona Oak, Olive- Pollination (April to May), Western Sycamore, Queen Palm, Pine, Pecan, Elm, Palo Verde- Pollination (February to April)

WEEDS

Allscale, Baccharis, Lamb’s Quarter, English Plantain, Western Ragweed- Pollination (August to October), Marsh Elder, Common Mugwort, Rabbit Bush, Russian Thistle- Pollination (May to November), Common Sagebrush, Sorrel, Careless Weed, Short Ragweed, Desert Ragweed- Pollination (May to June), Saltbush, Burrobrush, Kochia, False Ragweed