Spring Allergy Capitals 2009 - How Safe Are You?

  • I hate to tell you this, but there is no escape from allergies in the United States. Sure, some places are slightly better than others, but the truth is, there's no point in moving in the hopes of getting rid of your allergies. It might help for a time, but if your body has allergic tendencies, sooner or later, you'll find new triggers in your new location.


    That being said, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) issues a report twice every year identifying the "worst" U.S. cities to live in if you have allergies. They call these Allergy Capitals. This year's list was recently released, and Louisville, Kentucky won the dubious honor this time at #1 on the list.

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    The Allergy Capitals is an annual research project of the AAFA, with rankings that are based on careful analysis of 3 factors for 100 metro areas in the U.S. The factors analyzed include:

    • Pollen and mold scores
    • Number of allergy medications used per patient
    • Number of allergy specialists per patient

    The complete top 100 rankings have yet to be released by AAFA, but here are the top 5:

    1. Louisville, KY
    2. Knoxville, TN
    3. Charlotte, NC
    4. Madison, WI
    5. Wichita, KS

    Wondering how your city might fare in this listing? Or do you live in one of the cities mentioned above? I'll update here when the complete listing comes out, but for now, you can look at the 2008 list. Chances are, unless your city has worked hard to change the ranking factors (which is one of the goals of this research project in the first place), there won't be  much difference this time around.


    If you live in a dangerous allergy capital, you might use this information to join in some local advocacy work to help make things better for you and other allergy sufferers.


    Spring Allergy Tips

    Since we're talking spring, you may have noticed your allergy symptoms ramping up over the past few weeks. I know I have, and we don't even have much blooming yet in Idaho (since spring refuses to come and stay). I'm already sneezing, sniffling, and dealing with eye tearing, burning, etc. on a daily basis.


    Spring is when tree pollen rears its ugly head, so if you're allergic to it, then here's a reminder on the steps to take to prevent allergy symptoms from getting too far out of control:

    • Start taking your allergy medicine daily, if you stopped during the winter. People with seasonal allergies often stop taking medicine during the winter, because it's not needed. If so, get that prescription refilled and start taking it. It can take up to a week or more to feel the full effects of an oral antihistamine.
    • Watch your local pollen counts. Your TV news may report local pollen counts. You can also visit Pollen.com or the National Allergy Bureau to get them online.
    • Stay indoors when pollen counts are high. The highest counts are usually in the early morning and on windy, hot days. If you must go out during these times, change your clothes and shower when you get home to rid yourself of pollen.

    These are just a few of the measures you can take. You'll find a few more tips on avoiding allergy triggers in the post that I did a few weeks ago. No matter where you live, spring can be challenging when you have allergies, but if you take care of yourself, you can prevent allergies from taking over your life!

Published On: April 01, 2009