- The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America identified the cities.
- About 25% of U.S. adults have a seasonal allergy.
If you’re suffering from pollen-related sneezing, coughing and watery eyes, you’re one of millions in the United States dealing with seasonal allergies.
About 25% of U.S. adults have a seasonal allergy, according to recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And where you live could affect how serious your symptoms may be this season.
A new report released by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) identifies cities where people suffer most from spring and fall allergies. Based on data from the 100 most densely populated metropolitan areas in the country, researchers were able to rank the best and worst places to live based on pollen counts, use of over-the-counter allergy medicine and the number of board-certified allergists. The rationale is that it’s not only about where you’re likely to suffer from allergies but also where you’ll be able to get proper care.
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“We are experiencing longer and more intense allergy seasons because of climate change. For people with asthma, allergies can trigger an asthma attack,” said Kenneth Mendez, chief executive officer and president of AAFA. “Around 3,600 people per year die from asthma, so it’s important to address and manage asthma and allergy triggers where you live.”
The metropolitan areas that AAFA deems the most challenging for people with allergies all have three factors in common: They have higher-than-average spring and fall pollen, they have higher-than-average allergy medicine use, and there are fewer than average board-certified allergists in the metropolitan area.
Here are the 10 worst places to live in the U.S. if you suffer from seasonal allergies:
10. Greenville, South Carolina
Greenville has worse-than-average scores for allergy medicine use and average pollen scores and number of allergy specialists.
9. Des Moines, Iowa
Keep pollen exposure low in your home by washing your bedding weekly in hot water and drying clothes indoors.
8. Orlando, Florida
When spending time outside, cover your hair, take off your shoes before going inside and shower before bedtime to keep pollen at bay.
7. Cape Coral, Florida
Pets can carry pollen into your home. Wipe the animals down before they enter the house, give them regular baths and keep them out of the bedroom if pollen is a concern.
6. Sarasota, Florida
Air filters and cleaners can help to remove pollen from indoor air. Keeping windows closed also helps.
5. Tulsa, Oklahoma
Nasal rinses help to remove pollen from your nose. Nasal sprays help to reduce swelling and itching in the nose.
4. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Immunotherapy, like allergy shots, may make you less sensitive to pollen. It’s a long-term treatment that can help prevent allergic reactions.
3. Scranton, Pennsylvania
Pollen allergies can cause your mouth to itch when you eat certain fruits or vegetables. It’s called pollen food allergy syndrome and this happens when your immune system can’t differentiate between some pollens and certain foods.
2. Dallas, Texas
Talk with your doctor about treatment options. It’s a good idea to start allergy treatments before pollen season begins.
1. Wichita, Kansas
Wichita, Kansas, was ranked worse than average in all three categories: pollen counts, medicine use and number of allergy specialists.
For up-to-date allergen levels for your area, check our allergy tracker.
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