Each year, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) conducts Allergy Capitals, a research project to determine the 100 most challenging places to live in for those who have allergies in the spring and fall season. The results are based on 3 factors for 100 cities: (1) pollen scores of airborne grass, tree, and weed pollen, as well as mold spores; (2) number of allergy medications used per patient; and (3) number of allergy specialists per patient. The data is recorded, measured, and compared versus the results from the previous year, and the cities are ranked accordingly.
In AAFA’s 2006 Spring Allergy Capitals, Hartford, Connecticut, is ranked number one most challenging place to live in, followed by Greenville, SC, Boston, MA, Detroit, MI, Orlando, FL, Knoxville, TN, Omaha, NE, Sacramento, CA, Washington, DC, and Baltimore, MD.
As for the 2006 fall season, AAFA announced Greenville, South Carolina as the number one most challenging place to live in, followed by Tampa, FL, Dallas-Ft. Worth, TX, Tulsa, OK, Oklahoma City, OK, San Antonio, TX, Louisville, KY, Orlando, FL, Omaha, NE, and Grand Rapids, MI.
With this knowledge, allergy sufferers who live in an Allergy Capital should preempt their allergic symptoms as soon as the allergy season kicks in.
The rankings change every year depending on the results from the data gathered. Pollen counts can increase and decrease in different cities depending on where the wind blows, or how humid the weather can be. Some cities will be more problematic than others during one season, and may not be as problematic in the next season.
In AAFA’s 2006 Fall Allergy Capitals, there are around 17 cities that scored better than average, or in other words, these cities have the lowest pollen counts, patient allergy medications, and average allergy specialists per patient. These 17 cities can be called the best places to live in for allergy sufferers in the current year’s fall season. Canton, Ohio tops the list followed by Spokane, WA, Portland, OR, Springfield, MO, Scranton, PA, Modesto, CA, Seattle, WA, Pensacola, FL, Colorado Springs, CO, Fresno, CA, Daytona Beach, FL, South Bend, IN, Melbourne, FL, Fort Myers, FL, Des Moines, IA, Youngstown, OH, and Toledo, OH.
However, this does not mean that these 17 cities will remain to be allergy free, because the results might be different in the Allergy Capitals study in the following year. For one, Daytona Beach, Florida, which is now among the top best cities, was ranked as the 4th most challenging place to live in the 2005 Allergy Capitals study. South Bend, Indiana was ranked as the 5th worst place to live in, as well as Melbourne, Florida, which used to be ranked as the 10th worst place, also in 2005.
In general, a certain place is not ideal for someone with seasonal allergies if the weather in the area tends to get warm, humid, and dry come spring or fall. Pollens can easily be transported by the wind from miles away, thus increasing the pollen count in that area, and because of the hot weather, mold spores can also be widespread.
If you are an allergy sufferer, and you live or travel to one of the Allergy Capitals, there is still a way to alleviate your allergy symptoms. See your doctor regularly about your condition so that both of you can work out the best treatment for your allergies.