What are the worst U.S. cities for allergies?
In its latest ranking of the worst 100 U.S. cities for allergies, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America put Wichita at the top of the list of bad places to live if you have allergies. Other cities where those with allergies can expect to suffer are Jackson, Mississippi, which ranked number two, and Knoxville, Tennessee, which is listed third. By contrast, Colorado Springs, Sacramento and Portland, Oregon, finished at the bottom of the list.
The rankings were based on three factors: average pollen count, rate of allergy medicine use and ratio of allergists to patients.
This fall’s allergy season is expected to be worse than usual for the 40 million Americans suffering from allergies across the country. Experts say that a severe hurricane and tornado season contributes to a worse allergy season because it can increase the spread of pollen through wind. Last year’s Hurricane Sandy and other storms also resulted in residual outdoor molds, which could also help cause more severe allergies this year.
Dr. Leonard Bielory, an allergy specialist with the Rutgers Center for Environmental Prediction and a physician at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Jersey, said a pattern of worsening allergies will continue in coming years. Pollen counts will increase by 20 percent by 2020, he said.
This year’s ranking, conducted annually, was funded partly by drug company Meda Pharmaceuticals, which produces an allergy medication.