Allergies may be worse this year because of the polar vortex. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America released a list on Monday of the most challenging places to live with spring allergies. The list ranks the top worst 100 cities for allergies in America. Many of them are in the south.
Louisville, Ky was ranked as the No. 1 worst city for allergies. The top ten regions for the worst allergies are all in the American south. The rankings are made by comparing pollen count, the number of allergists per patient, and the amount of medication used per patient. The American west ranks better for allergy suffers.
Louisville rose this year from its No. 5 ranking last year. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America claims that the reason for the rise is a higher than typical pollen count, along with an increase in medication. That, combined with having too few allergists, moves Louisville, Ky. to the top spot. Los Angeles, Ca., fell a remarkable 39 places, coming in at No. 77 this year; last year Los Angeles was ranked No. 38.
Clifford Bassett, who is the medical director of Allergy and Asthma Care of New York as well as being a board-certified allergist, notes that the prolonged winter this year may mean worse spring allergies. Bassett said, “We will see a pollen explosion in April” and continued to say he anticipates a “robust pollen season.” That is especially true for these cities ranked in the top 10, where residents may experience an allergy season that is worse than previous seasons.
Allergens are trigger substances that cause a reaction from the immune system. The symptoms of spring allergies are typically a runny nose, itchy and/or watery eyes, coughing, and sneezing. Common spring allergy triggers include tree pollen. Summer allergens are often grass pollen, while fall allergies include weed pollen and mold spores.
The Allergy and Asthma Foundation said that even though there is still snow on the ground in some places, millions of Americans are already seeing their doctors for allergy-related symptoms this year. 17.6 million adults were diagnosed with hay fever in 2012, and 6.6 million children were believed to have hay fever, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Curious as to where other major cities fall on the list? Las Vegas, NV is ranked as No. 62, down from the No. 55 ranking last year. San Antonio, TX is ranked as No. 15, which moves it up from its last year’s ranking of No. 24. New York, NY has moved up from its rank of No. 43 last year to its place at No. 13 this year.
There are some tips to surviving spring allergies. Treating allergies early may help to keep symptoms from becoming their worst. Using preventative measures, like wearing a face mask when outside, may also be beneficial. An air filter may help to reduce the number of allergens inside one’s home. Natural remedies, like essential oils, may also work. In addition, seeing an allergist can help, as they will be able to do tests to determine what the specific allergen triggers are that are causing individuals to experience allergy symptoms.
Good news for residents of Colorado Springs, CO; their city came in ranked as No. 100. They may have it a little easier than residents in these other cities, specifically in the American south, who are gearing up for a worse allergy season this year than in years past.
By Ashley Campbell