The Top 10 Allergy Capitals of the United States:
Where NOT to Live if You Have Allergies
© 2018 Health Realizations, Inc. Update
In the United States, 60 million people -- or one out of four Americans -- suffer from allergies and asthma, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA). Allergies are actually the 5th leading chronic disease in the United States, and the 3rd most common chronic disease among children under 18.
The severity of allergy season varies depending on where you live. Do you live in one of the worst allergy capitals?
Among them, 40 million Americans have indoor/outdoor allergies as their primary allergy, which can make springtime, and also fall, miserable.
Aside from the lousy, cold-like symptoms that allergies provoke (sneezing, congestion, watery/itchy eyes, runny nose, etc.), allergies can cost you days at work and money to seek out solutions. In fact, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI), allergies may cost Americans close to $8 billion a year in costs related to direct care and lost work productivity.
And this year experts say many parts of the country are experiencing worse than usual allergy seasons. The Pacific Northwest a mild winter rapidly gave way to warm spring temperatures that caused many plants to release their pollen at the same time. In the South, meanwhile, pollen levels peaked in February, dropped, then rose again in March, making allergic reactions even worse than before.
Of course, while allergies can occur in any part of the country, certain areas of the United States will always be more problematic than others.
2012 Allergy Capitals
AAFA has identified the 100 most challenging places to live with allergies in both the spring and fall seasons. The rankings are based on scientific analysis of three factors for 100 metro areas, including:
- Pollen scores (airborne grass/tree/weed pollen and mold spores)
- Number of allergy medications used per patient (over-the-counter and prescription
- Number of allergy specialists per patient
For 2009, the top spring capitals were:
- Knoxville, TN
- McAllen, TX
- Louisville, KY
- Jackson, MS
- Wichita, KS
- Oklahoma City, OK
- Chattanooga, TN
- Memphis, TN
- San Antonio, TX
- Dayton, OH
To view a list of the complete rankings, with 100 spring allergy capitals listed, visit AAFA.
“Anyone who lives in an Allergy Capital should take the necessary steps to minimize the impact of allergies on their life,” says Mike Tringale, director of external affairs for AAFA in an AAFA news release. “The Allergy Capital ranking is a great tool to help increase awareness about what allergy sufferers can do to avoid allergy triggers and actually enjoy the spring season.”
The good news is that there are a number of ways to ease your outdoor allergies that don't cost much money and that don't take much effort to do. If you are one of the many people battling with seasonal allergies this spring, try out as many of the tips below as you can ... and you should experience a great deal of relief, no matter where you live.
10 Tips to Minimize Your Seasonal Allergies
Keep your windows closed to keep pollen out (this is especially important from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m. when plants release most of their pollen). This includes while you’re driving.
Use your air conditioner instead of opening windows, and ideally use an air conditioner that has an allergy-reducing HEPA filter in it.
- Check the daily pollen and mold counts (AAAAI's National Allergy Bureau has daily pollen counts for locations across the country, as does Pollen.com. If counts are high, stay indoors as much as possible. Also stay indoors if it's windy, as dust and pollen will be blown about.
When pollen and mold counts are high, spend more time indoors.
Wash you bedding once a week in hot water to help get rid of dust mites and other allergy triggers.
Clean your home frequently to reduce pollen, mold, dust and other allergens -- including dust and all of its microscopic attachments.
If you spend time outside, change your clothes and wash your hair when you come inside to remove pollen and other allergens. Also resist the temptation to hang your clothes out in the sun to dry. When you bring them inside, they'll be covered in pollen and mold.
Get allergy tested and use natural support when you are dealing with environmental allergies.
You can always check pollen counts in your area by visiting Pollen.com.
Have someone else mow your lawn. Cutting the grass will expose you to a host of pollens and molds (the same goes for raking leaves in the fall).
Wipe off surfaces you touch often. Surfaces such as computer keyboards, countertops, furniture, door handles and appliances can be loaded with allergens. When you touch these areas, the allergens are transferred to your hands and then likely to your eyes, nose and mouth, potentially worsening your symptoms. Giving these areas a quick wipe with high-quality, commercial-grade microfiber cloths that will keep all types of allergens to a minimum.
An astounding 85 percent of household "dirt" is carried into your house from the outside, so strategically placing high-quality mats in highly trafficked areas like entrances can dramatically reduce the amount of dirt, dust and allergens that are tracked into your home (and spread via your indoor air).
It is key to use the right type of door mats -- AVOID cotton, coir and other fibers, and wood and metal mats, as they can increase versus help the problem.
Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America 2009 Spring Allergy Capitals
Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America 2012 Spring Allergy Capitals