No place is safe from allergens—no matter where you go, there will be pollen, there will be mold, and there will be trees, grass, and flowers. But some cities are sneezier than others. This week, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America named its 2012 Spring Allergy Capitals—rankings of the most miserable cities for spring allergy sufferers.
What makes a city an allergy capital? The group factored in three ingredients: each city's seasonal pollen count, use of over-the-counter and prescription allergy medications, and number of board-certified allergists per patient. (Pollen count refers to the number of grains of pollen in a cubic meter of air. The higher the number, the worse news for sufferers.)
This year's allergy capital is Knoxville, Tenn., which received the maximum score of 100 points. Knoxvillians and residents of other spring-allergy hotspots are likelier to experience severe allergy symptoms—runny nose, nasal and sinus congestion, sneezing, watery eyes, and even difficulty breathing—than those in unranked or lower-ranking cities. Before heading on a road trip this season, check out the Allergy Capitals list, which includes the top 100 sneeziest cities. If you're traveling to a challenging area, work with your allergist ahead of time to devise a management plan. Caution: The Southeast is typically the worst place to be during spring allergy season, while the Northeast is worst come fall.
Here are the 10 worst cities for spring allergy sufferers:
|10 Worst Cities for Spring Allergies|
|Knoxville, Tenn.||Overall score: 100|
|McAllen, Texas||Overall score: 96.71|
|Louisville, Ky.||Overall score: 93.31|
|Jackson, Miss.||Overall score: 92.85|
|Wichita, Kan.||Overall score: 91.36|
|Oklahoma City, Okla.||Overall score: 90.57|
|Chattanooga, Tenn.||Overall score: 89.63|
|Memphis, Tenn.||Overall score: 85.19|
|San Antonio, Texas||Overall score: 84.41|
|Dayton, Ohio||Overall score: 82.15|