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Sarah S. Kehl, M.D.

Allergy, Asthma & Immunology

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Cities that rank the highest for allergies and asthma

Posted by on in Allergy
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In the Willamette Valley, May not only brings with it tree pollens but it also heralds the beginning of grass season – a time when many asthma and allergy patients really begin to sneeze and wheeze.

May is "National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month," according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), which every year releases a list of "Allergy Capitals in the U.S."

Although there is no city in America that's considered allergen-free, some cities are worse than others. According to research done by AAFA, Knoxville, Tenn. has been named the No. 1 city two years running for tree pollen allergy sufferers.

Here are the Top 5 spring (tree pollen) Allergy Capitals in the U.S. for 2012:

  1. Knoxville, Tenn.
  2. McAllen, Texas
  3. Louisville, Ky.
  4. Jackson, Miss.
  5. Wichita, Kan.

The rankings are based on scientific analysis of three factors for the 100 largest metro areas in the U.S. The data measured and compared each year includes:

  • Pollen scores (airborne grass/tree/weed pollen and mold spores)*
  • Number of allergy medications used per patient
  • Number of allergy specialists per patient

Visit Allergy Capitals of the U.S. of the U.S. to see the complete list of cities. Unfortunately, AAFA doesn't currently rank U.S. cities with the highest summer allergens (grass pollen), but it hopes to procure funding to research this important allergen in the future. In that event, Eugene/Springfield, Corvallis and Albany may make the list someday.

Which cities are considered among the worst in terms of providing a challenging environment for asthmatics? This year, Richmond, Va., was named the top "Asthma Capital" in AAFA's annual ranking of "the 100 most challenging places to live with asthma."

Here are the Top Asthma Capitals in the U.S. for 2011, as this year's rankings are not yet available:

  1. Richmond, Va.
  2. Knoxville, Tenn.
  3. Memphis, Tenn.
  4. Chattanooga, Tenn.
  5. Tulsa, Olka.
  6. St. Louis, Mo.
  7. Augusta, Ga.
  8. Virginia Beach, Va.
  9. Philadelphia, Pa.
  10. Nashville, Tenn.

Rankings are based on:

  • Prevalence factors from published public health statistics.
  • Risk factors, such as air quality factors, pollen counts of tree and ragweed, "100% smoke-free" laws and other factors.
  • Medical factors, including medication usage and access to specialists in allergy, asthma, and respiratory disease.

If you suffer from springtime asthma or allergies, talk to your doctor about an effective treatment plan.

Tagged in: Asthma Pollen

Dr. Sarah Kehl brings to Oak Street Medical her combined expertise as a board certified allergy/immunology specialist and pediatrician. Warm and approachable, Dr. Kehl tries to put all of her patients at ease.