A Top 20 List to Sneeze At

Fall paths
Image by slack12 via Flickr

Fall allergy season has been in full swing for a couple of weeks now. If you live in one of the cities listed below, you may be suffering more than most – which means you’re pretty miserable this year. This allergy season may be one of the worst on record, according to a recent report by ABC News.

The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) published their annual list of the 100 most challenging places to live during spring and fall allergy seasons. AAFA conducts an annual analysis of pollen scores, number of allergy medications used per patient and number of allergy specialists per patient.

Although these metro areas may top the list, there’s really no place in the US where allergies are totally avoidable.

Indoors may be worse then outdoors, according to AAFA – mold, chemicals in dry cleaning, paint or carpeting, pet hair, dust mites, and plain old dusty furniture can all trigger the sneezing, watery eyes, congestion, cough, and misery felt by some 40 million Americans; ten million of whom also have allergic asthma. That number is closer to 60 million, as compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Either way, that’s a lot of Kleenex!

Allergy Capitals for 2011
  1. Knoxville, TN
  2. Dayton, OH
  3. McAllen, TX
  4. Jackson, MS
  5. Oklahoma City, OK
  6. Louisville, KY
  7. Wichita, KS
  8. Madison, WI
  9. St. Louis, MO
  10. Tulsa, OK
  11. Chattanooga, TN
  12. Memphis, TN
  13. Birmingham, AL
  14. Springfield, MA
  15. San Antonio, TX
  16. Greensboro, NC
  17. Omaha, NE
  18. Columbia, SC
  19. Little Rock, AR
  20. Charlotte, NC

Kids are especially vulnerable, so it’s really important to reduce their exposure to triggers. Close the windows, do a thorough house cleaning, wrap mattresses in anti-allergen covers, and use air filters or purification systems if necessary to provide relief. Check out this review of air filters by New York Magazine. Over the counter medications may help in the short term; allergy shots may be another option.

Don’t let yourself be miserable. Your physician can help pinpoint triggers or refer you to a specialist. Or, you can always move to Portland, OR – it came in at number 100 on the list.

Leave a Reply