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10 Worst Cities for Fall Allergies

By Melissa Breyer for care2.com
8/13/2012 11:41:48 AM

As the globe slowly orbits from summer to winter, those of us in the northern hemisphere get to enjoy the pleasures of autumn. But for the nearly 50 million Americans suffeirng from nasal allergies or allergic asthma, the next few months might be more of a mad dash to avoid the symptoms of fall allergies: runny nose and congestion, itchy and watery eyes, violent sneezing, and even coughing and wheezing.

Since 2004, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) has provided an annual list of 100 Fall Allergy Capitals, the cities they describe as the most challenging places to live with fall allergies. Following are the top 10 offenders, as well as allergy facts and statistics from the AAFA.

Photo of the Tulsa Historic Society taken by Jane Tyson, courtesy of photos.com.

10. Tulsa, OK

Score: 89.2

The rankings are based on scientific analysis of 3 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

9. St. Louis, MO

Score: 90.72

Allergy is characterized by an overreaction of the human immune system to a foreign protein substance ("allergen") that is eaten, breathed into the lungs, injected or touched. This immune overreaction can results in symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, itchy eyes, runny nose and scratchy throat. In severe cases it can also result in rashes, hives, lower blood pressure, difficulty breathing, asthma attacks, and even death.

8. Madison, WI

Score: 90.75

Allergies have a genetic component. If only one parent has allergies of any type, chances are 1 in 3 that each child will have an allergy. If both parents have allergies, it is much more likely (7 in 10) that their children will have allergies. More Americans than ever before say they are suffering from allergies. It is among the country's most common, yet often overlooked, diseases.

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