The best – and worst – cities for people with pollen allergies

Spring allergy season has arrived with sneezing and sniffling. But allergies are more serious in some parts of the country than others.

According to the 2023 Allergy Capitals report from the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, many of the most challenging cities to live in for people with seasonal allergies are along the East Coast, Southeast and Midwest. But many of the best cities for allergy sufferers are close to the worst.

That’s because the report didn’t just use data on local pollen levels. It also included information on allergy medication use and the availability of certified allergy specialists nearby to rank the country’s 100 most populous cities. So even if a location has a lot of pollen, the ranking may be offset by the availability of allergists in the area to help people manage their symptoms, for example.

And if it seems like allergy seasons are getting longer and more severe, you’re probably not imagining it. Climate change is contributing to milder winters, allowing plants longer growing seasons and more pollen in the world, the report explains. That makes life difficult for anyone with pollen allergies — especially those who have asthma triggered by allergies, the AAFA says.

If you’re wondering how intense the season can be in your area, check out the list below.

The best and worst cities in the US for seasonal allergies

The most challenging cities for allergy sufferers:

  1. Wichita, Kansas
  2. Dallas, Texas
  3. Scranton, Pennsylvania
  4. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  5. Tulasa, Oklahoma
  6. Sarasota, Florida
  7. Cape Coral, Florida
  8. Orlando, Florida
  9. Des Moines, Iowa
  10. Greenville, South Carolina

The report also ranked cities by levels of different types of pollen, including tree, weed and grass pollen. Wichita, Kansas, led the rankings in all three pollen categories.

The best cities for allergy sufferers are:

  1. Buffalo, New York
  2. Seattle, Washington
  3. Cleveland, Ohio
  4. Austin, Texas
  5. Akron, Ohio
  6. Washington, DC
  7. Detroit, Michigan
  8. Albuquerque, New Mexico
  9. Columbus, Ohio
  10. Salt Lake City, Utah

How to deal with seasonal allergies

You don’t have to endure seasonal allergy symptoms alone. With a combination of medication and good habits, you can enjoy your time outdoors without the itchy eyes, congestion, and fatigue that seasonal pollen can cause.

Common over-the-counter allergy medications include oral antihistamines and nasal steroid sprays, which can take days or weeks to reach their maximum effect, previously explained. So, ideally, you should start taking those medications before your allergy season arrives.

In addition to medications, there are plenty of little tricks to keep your allergies under control. For example, keeping the windows closed in the house can prevent pollen from entering the house. And experts recommend showering when you get back from being outside to remove pollen from your body and hair.

If you feel like your allergy symptoms are getting worse, it’s important to contact an allergist. They can help determine exactly what types of pollen (or other allergens) you are reacting to and can prescribe other types of treatment. Your allergist may also recommend that you try immunotherapy, which can be an effective way to manage allergy symptoms long-term.

Finally, the AAFA recommends keeping an eye on the pollen counts in your area so you know when to take extra precautions. “But not all reports are created equal,” the AFFA explains. Pollen counts actually take samples from the air, while pollen forecasts are just predictions based on weather and historical data, previously reported. Experts suggest using pollen counts from trusted sampling stations near you for the most accurate information.

The best – and worst – cities for people with pollen allergies

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