[ Watch the Video: Is Your City High On The Allergy List? ]
Brett Smith for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online
From Baton Rouge, Louisiana to Dayton, Ohio – the Midwest US appears to be the worst place for fall allergies this year, according to a new list from the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA).
The list ranked Wichita, Kansas as the No. 1 worst city for fall allergies in 2013, followed by Jackson, Mississippi and Knoxville, Tennessee.
To create the list, the foundation looked at the 100 most populous, concentrated metropolitan areas in the continental US. Rankings were based on pollen counts, number of allergy drugs used per patient, and the number of board-certified allergists per patient. The report was sponsored by the prescription allergy nasal spray Dymista.
The top of the list is dominated by cities that are “places where ragweed thrives,” Mike Tringale, vice president of external affairs at AAFA, told USA Today. “In addition, there is some crossover — some grasses are still pollinating.”
The AAFA said the main allergy trigger this fall is expected to be ragweed pollen. It also said outdoor mold will be a problem because it continues to proliferate and will easily spread via fall weather and wind patterns.
This year’s list also showed a couple of cities dramatically changing in rank. Dallas jumped from No. 26 in 2012 to No. 18 this year, while Detroit dropped from place 10 to 19.
“Ragweed grows in urban areas, such as in cracks in sidewalks, along sides of roads and on roofs of buildings,” Tringale said. “AAFA encourages the approximately 40 million Americans who suffer from seasonal allergies to learn more and consult an allergy specialist for proper diagnosis and treatment of seasonal allergy symptoms.”
Ragweed is a highly invasive and prolific species. It is able to produce about a billion grains of pollen over a season, according to previous studies. Starting in early July in the Northern Hemisphere, the plants will bloom until mid-August or when cooler weather arrives.
The report also cited climate factors that could have an impact on the fall allergy season.
“Recent studies suggest that rising temperatures and carbon dioxide levels could be extending ragweed season by as much as a month or more,” a statement on the AAFA said. “This is especially true in the northern states in the US where there are now longer periods of warm weather than before.”
“Although the season has gotten off to a late start, with an above-average hurricane season predicted in the East and tornadoes expected in the Midwest, high winds from these weather patterns can cause increases in pollen distribution, leading to an increase in allergy symptoms,” the statement continued.
Tringale said the list isn’t intended to send people packing their bags.
“Don’t move; improve,” he suggested. “Improve your understanding of your diagnosis and your treatment. Improve your knowledge about how to avoid allergy triggers and reduce allergens in your home.”
“Allergies are bad everywhere,” Michael Kaliner, medical director of the Institute for Asthma and Allergy, told the national daily paper. “If allergies are left untreated or treated with the wrong medication, it can cause some serious complications.”