Allergy Foundation Ranks Most Challenging Cities for Allergy
There is no place safe from allergies in America, and some allergy cities are more problematic than others. The Allergy Capitals is an annual research project of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) to identify the 100 most challenging cities to live with allergies in the spring and fall allergy seasons each year.
Evaluating the Worst Allergy Cities
The Asthma Foundation rankings of allergy cities are based on scientific analysis of 3 factors for the 100 largest metro areas in the U.S.
The data measured and compared for allergy cities each year includes:
- Pollen scores (airborne grass/tree/weed pollen and mold spores)
- Number of allergy medications used per patient
- Number of allergy specialists per patient
Pollen score is comprised of comprehensive recorded levels of airborne grass/tree/weed pollen and mold spores, and prevalence data for each of these specific types of allergens. (Learn how global warming could mean more pollen: Longer Allergy Season)
Worst 10 Allergy Cities in the U.S.
Knoxville, TN, is the #1 allergy city at the top of AAFA’s annual “Spring Allergy Capitals” rankings for the second year in a row. But the final scores for all 100 allergy cities studied were very close this year.
- Knoxville’s ranking this year as the worst allergy city is due primarily to higher-than-average use of allergy medications per patient, and higher-than-average pollen counts.
- Knoxville has been within the top-10 on this report of allergy cities for 6 of the past 9 years.
Get info about indoor air pollution: Sick Building, Sick People
The 10 worst allergy cities on the spring list this year are:
1. Knoxville, TN
2. Louisville, KY
3. Charlotte, NC
4. Jackson, MS
5. Chattanooga, TN
6. Birmingham, AL
7. Dayton, OH
8. Richmond, VA
9. McAllen, TX
10. Madison, WI
The Big Apple or the Big Allergy?
As far as our hometown goes, New York City is ranked 23 among the allergy capitals, making it feel more like the Big Allergy than the Big Apple this spring.
Two big west coast cities scored lower among allergy capitals, with Los Angeles at 86, followed by Seattle at 87.
For the first time in this 9-year report, the average number of allergy medications-per-patient is less than 1.0 (actual national average this year is 0.94 medications used per patient). The Spring Allergy Capitals report mostly measures prescription (RX) medication purchases and refills, so this decline is most likely an indication that patients are relying more and more on over-the-counter allergy medications since the scope, variety and strength of over-the-counter medications today is much larger than in the past.
Learn about clearing the air: Air Filters Cut Heart Risks from Pollution
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The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) is the leading national nonprofit organization fighting asthma and allergic diseases. AAFA provides free information, conducts educational programs, fights for patients’ rights, and funds research to find better treatments and cures.