Wellness

America's sneeziest cities: 15 worst U.S. cities for fall allergies

Sep. 18, 2013 at 8:57 AM ET

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Ugurhan Betin / Getty Images stock

On the upside: If you are unlucky enough to live in one of the cities just named “most challenging to live with fall allergies” -- at least your complaints about living with allergies in your city are now totally justified.

The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America has released its annual list of the 100 worst American cities to live with allergies in the fall, ragweed pollen’s “prime season,” says Mike Tringale, senior vice president of external affairs for the AAFA and one of the lead researchers on the group’s annual report. The list, Tringale explains, is based on three factors: higher pollen counts and higher use of prescription and over-the-counter allergy medication will move a city up the list, as will a lower number of allergy specialists working in their city.

But what you really want to see is the list of the cities, to find out whether yours made the cut, so here you are:

1.   Wichita, Kan.

2.   Jackson, Miss.

3.   Knoxville, Tenn.

4.   Louisville, Ky.

5.   Memphis, Tenn.

6.   McAllen, Texas

7.   Baton Rouge, La.

8.   Dayton, Ohio

9.   Chattanooga, Tenn.

10. Oklahoma City, Okla.

11. New Orleans

12. Madison, Wis.

13. Omaha, Neb.

14. Little Rock, Ark.

15. Tulsa, Okla.

The complete list of all 100 cities is available here

About 40 million Americans suffer from allergies, Tringale says, and half of those people say their allergies are moderate to severe, says Dr. James Sublett, vice president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. He says those are the people that would benefit most from seeing a board-certified allergist.

“Allergies are the most common reason to have ‘presenteeism’ at work – where you go to work and you just feel miserable,” says Dr. James Sublett, vice president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. “You can find relief by identifying what you’re allergic to."

Sublett says if allergies are driving you nuts, start by contacting your general practitioner. 

“People don’t have to be miserable,” Sublett says. “You can get relief for your symptoms, because it is a lifelong problem for many people.”

The ACAAI has some handy tips to tell when seasonal allergies are disguised as a common cold, and we'll leave you with those. 

  • Your symptoms have lasted more than two weeks. They haven't gotten much worse, but they aren't getting any better, either.
  • Not only are you sneezing -- your eyes, nose and throat are itchy as all heck. Itchiness usually means an allergy.
  • You also have asthma. About 80 percent of people with asthma are also cursed with allergies.


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