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Best and Worst Places for Fall Allergies By Victoria S. Brkovich, MD

Once again, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) has created an annual ranking for the best and worst places for fall seasonal allergies.  These rankings are based on the analysis of three key factors, which are:  pollen and mold scores during the fall of 2011, the number of allergy medications used by people with allergies last fall, and the number of board-certified allergists per 10,000 patients.

This year’s number one spot for worst place for fall allergies is Louisville, KY, which ranked sixth worst last year.  In fact, six cities in the South made the list for top 10 worst fall allergy spots in the country this year.

10 Worst Places for Fall Allergies in 2012 list:

1.  Louisville, Ky.

2.  Wichita, Kan.

3.  Knoxville, Tenn.

4.  Jackson, Miss.

5.  McAllen, Texas

6.  Dayton, Ohio

7.  Oklahoma City, Okla.

8.  Memphis, Tenn.

9.  Madison, Wis.

10. Baton Rouge, La.

On the flip side, AAFA also ranked the best places for fall allergies, and the top five are as follows: 

1.  Sacramento, Calif.

2.  Portland, Ore.

3.  Stockton, Calif.

4.  Daytona Beach, Fla.

5.  San Francisco, Calif.

To see a complete listing of all 100 areas, visit the AAFA’s Allergy Capitals web site.

The reason for a worse allergy season this fall has a lot to do with the drought and heat this summer.  Dry weather helps to keep pollen floating in the air longer, ragweed pollen being the main trigger of fall allergies.

With rain in the fall, however, mold spores from piles of damp leaves can also thrive.  Both of these allergens can cause the main symptoms of stuffy, runny noses, as well as lead to the sniffles, sneezing, and watery eyes, in the estimated 40 million seasonal allergy sufferers in the country.  For people with asthma, it can also lead to wheezing and trouble breathing.

ENT, as well as allergy, specialists can help evaluate your allergy symptoms and recommend treatment to help relieve them.

Additionally, there are several things one can do to reduce the severity of allergy symptoms, whether outside or indoors:

 •Keep doors and windows closed at night to reduce the amount of outdoor allergens that get inside the home. Set the air conditioner on re-circulate.

•Reduce mold by decreasing moisture around the house, especially in damp bathrooms, kitchens, and other wet areas. Rake up piles of damp leaves and dispose.

•Vacuum once or twice a week to minimize the amount of indoor allergens.

•Keep surfaces clear of dust, especially in the bedroom, and all areas where a significant amount of time is spent.

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