There is nothing better than opening your window on a hot summer’s day to breathe in the fresh air – unless you have hay fever, that is.
Going for walks and having picnics in the park are very much to be enjoyed but for those who suffer with seasonal allergies, the activities can quickly lead to itchy skin, eyes watering and an endless amount of sneezing.
Hay fever occurs when the immune system sees pollen as a threat, leading to an allergic reaction. However, if you’re experiencing these symptoms regularly, it is important to also take a food sensitivity test to understand what might be causing them.
Though you can’t cure a pollen allergy, it can be controlled. YorkTest has conducted research that reveals the best and worst parks across the US for hay fever sufferers. We have analyzed the grass pollen count in the areas surrounding the 150 largest public parks that are pollen-heavy which might want to be avoided on your next outing.
The top 20 worst parks for hay fever sufferers
According to our research, nine parks within Nashville, Tennessee are among those most likely to have the highest pollen counts.
One of the most popular parks in Nashville, Percy Warner Park reached 162.4 grains of grass pollen per cubic meter over a five-day average, suggesting that long summer walks may not be the best choice for those with severe hay fever.
Beaman Park, the nature trail in Nashville, Tennessee, has the second largest pollen count in the area, followed by Lake Leatherwood Park in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, with both reaching over 100 grains per cubic meter.
|Rank||Park||Area||Average grass pollen count [grains/m] 5-day average|
|1||Percy Warner Park||Nashville, Tennessee||162.4|
|2||Beaman Park||Nashville, Tennessee||150.4|
|3||Lake Leatherwood Park||Eureka Springs, Arkansas||110.4|
|4||Barton Creek Greenway||Austin, Texas||106.8|
|5||Jefferson Memorial Forest||Fairdale, Kentucky||87.6|
|6||Shelby Bottoms||Nashville, Tennessee||81.8|
|7||Shelby Farms Park||Memphis, Tennessee||78.2|
|8||Hamilton Creek Park||Nashville, Tennessee||74.2|
|9||Steele Creek Park||Bristol, Tennessee||70.2|
|10||Forest Park||St.Louis, Missouri||69.8|
|11||Lake Wheeler Park||Raleigh, North Carolina||69.4|
|12||Bell’s Bend Park||Nashville, Tennessee||66.2|
|13||San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site||La Porte, Texas||66|
|14||Otter Creek Park||Louisville, Kentucky||61.2|
|15||Bryan Park||Greensboro, North Carolina||53.2|
|=15||Bays Mountain Park||Kingsport, Tennessee||53.2|
|17||Anderson Lake County Park||San Jose, California||48.2|
|18||T.O. Fuller State Park||Memphis, Tennessee||47.8|
|=18||William B Umstead State Park||Raleigh, North Carolina||47.8|
|19||Burns Park||North Little Rock, Arkansas||45.8|
|20||Newport News Park||Newport News, Virginia||45.2|
The top 10 best parks for zero pollen counts:
For those who regularly travel to Alaska and Hawaii, you’re in luck as these two states host the parks with zero pollen.
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.
- Chugach State Park – Anchorage, Alaska
- Ahupua’a O Kahana State Park – Kaaawa, Hawaii
- Far North Bicentennial Park – Anchorage, Alaska
- Bonita Lakes Park – Meridian, Mississippi
- Kincaid Park – Anchorage, Alaska
- Rancho Diana – San Antonia, Texas
- Stinchcomb Wildlife Refuge Park – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
- Koko Head District Park – Honolulu, Hawaii
- Ka’ena Point State Park – Waialua, Hawaii
- Mohawk Park – Tulsa, Oklahoma
Kerri Ferriaioli, Nutritionist at YorkTest commented on the research:
“As much as we love summer, many of us have to deal with regular bouts of seasonal allergies. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed over 19 million Americans have been diagnosed with seasonal allergic rhinitis – also known as hay fever.
“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 US 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.
“There is a lot of medication currently available to help relieve hay fever, however before taking any new medication it is important to check with your doctor first. On the other hand, there are a lot of natural remedies that can help. This can include wearing sunglasses to help protect from microscopic pollen particles, having a shower and eating natural anti-histamine foods that include Vitamin C.”
Using The Trust for Public Land’s list of the 150 largest parks across the US, YorkTest analysed the expected grass pollen levels in each geographic area over the course of a five-day period using https://pollencount.app/. It then came up with an average of the five-day period to create this index.