The foundation ranked the 20 worst cities for allergies in the US by measuring pollen scores, drug use and the number of allergy specialists. The average score was 71.49 and Wichita received a 100.
The foundation also ranked Wichita No. 1 for places with the highest pollen counts in three categories: tree pollen, grass pollen, and weed pollen.
The Washington Post reports over the past decade that the cities most populous are McAllen, Texas; Oklahoma city; Richmond, Virginia; and San Antonio, Texas. Pittsburg, Pennsylvania also makes the list for above-average pollen; Dayton, Ohio; Syracuse, NY; and Buffalo, NY
Allergy specialist Dr. Maurice Van Strickland said he has definitely noticed the onset of seasonal allergies in Wichita.
“Allergy season is here, people are sick,” he told The Eagle.
Wichita has always had a spot on the Asthma and Allergy Foundation’s list of the worst places to live with allergies, and there are multiple factors that can come into play. Here’s what could be causing allergies in Wichita and what you can do to treat them.
What could be causing your allergy?
Strickland said there are multiple plants that can cause allergies in humans, and people usually don’t realize they are allergic to them.
Tree pollen is a major offender in the Wichita area for allergies. Strickland said when it comes to trees, he’s found that elm, maple and even cedar trees can trigger reactions.
Mold is another common offender in the area, Strickland said. Specifically, Cladosporium fungus, which grows in wet or damp places, often indoors, and can cause dry skin, sneezing, nasal congestion, coughing and more, according to Healthline.com.
Strickland said Botrytis is another common offender. It is a gray mold that can cause allergic reactions.
How can you treat your allergies?
There are multiple over-the-counter remedies for your allergies. For non-sedating medications, Strickland recommends Zyrtec, Claritin, and Allegra.
There are also nasal spray options, but Strickland said you shouldn’t use those for more than three days. Over-the-counter eye drops may also provide relief.
If you spend the day outside, it may help to take a shower once you get home to wash off any potential allergens, Strickland said.
Strickland also said it also helps to run your air conditioner and keep your windows closed to prevent pollen from entering your living space.
When to seek medical help for allergies
If you experience symptoms and over-the-counter medications don’t help, see a doctor, the Mayo Clinic says. If you experience a severe reaction, call 911.
If you suffer from allergies and don’t know what to look for, you can visit an allergy specialist to find out what might be causing your reactions.
Symptoms of hay fever or allergic rhinitis can include the following, according to the Mayo Clinic:
Runny or stuffy nose
Itching of the eyes, nose or palate
Watery, red or swollen eyes
Insect allergy symptoms can include:
A swelling at the site of the sting
Hives or itching in the body
Coughing, chest tightness, wheezing and shortness of breath
Anaphylaxis, a life-threatening reaction
The worst cities for allergies
The 10 worst cities for allergies, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, are:
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Virginia Beach, Va.
Cape Coral, Fla.
Des Moines, Iowa
When asked why Wichita stands out for seasonal allergies, Strickland said, “I don’t have a good answer for that, but we’re always in the top five.”