The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) has released its list of 2008 fall allergy capitals – the worst places to live during fall allergy season – based on pollen counts, number of allergy medications used per patient, and number of allergy specialists per patient.
Ragweed, the most common seasonal allergy trigger, peaks in September in most parts of the country. Mold allergy is also a problem during the fall. This year, more than 50 percent of the U.S. population lives in one of the top 100 Fall Allergy Capitals!
Here’s the list of this season’s top 25 allergy capitals:
1. Greensboro, NC
2. Greenville, SC
3. Little Rock, AK
4. Raleigh-Durham, NC
5. Jackson, MS
6. Knoxville, TN
7. Grand Rapids, MI
8. Wichita, KS
9. Oklahoma City, OK
10. Madison, WI
11. Tulsa, OK
12. Chattanooga, TN
13. Birmingham, AL
14. New Orleans, LA
15. Harrisburg, PA
16. Augusta, GA
17. Louisville, KY
18. San Antonio, TX
19. Columbia, SC
20. Charlotte, NC
21. Memphis, TN
22. Des Moines, IA
23. Scranton, PA
24. St. Louis, MO
25. Bridgeport, CT
As you can see, ragweed does not discriminate geographically. It affects allergy sufferers all across the country.
Danica Schulte, M.D., of Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, says, “Many patients come to me because they’re tired of missing out on outdoor activities they enjoy and I assure them that they shouldn’t have to. There are excellent allergy medicines available to people. In fact, this is the first fall that allergy sufferers can get ZYRTEC® without a prescription in most local stores. This will be a huge convenience for allergy sufferers no matter where they live or travel.”
The AAFA also offers these fall allergy tips:
Avoid Indoor Allergens
Dust to control mites. By dusting surfaces and washing bedding often, you can control the amount of dust mites in your home.
Vacuum often. Although cleaning can sometimes trigger allergic reactions, with dust in the air, vacuuming once or twice a week will reduce the surface dust mites. Wear a mask when doing housework and consider leaving for a few hours after you clean to avoid allergens in the air. You can also make sure your vacuum has an air filter to capture dust.
Reduce pet dander. If you have allergies, you should avoid pets with feathers or fur, like birds, dogs and cats. If you can’t bear to part with your pet, you should at least keep it out of the bedroom.
Limit pollen.One easy way to help prevent pollen from entering your home is to keep windows and doors closed. Use an air filter and clean it regularly or run the air conditioner and change the filter often.
Shop Air Purifiers
Avoid mold spores.If you reduce the moisture in the bathroom and kitchen, you will reduce the mold. Fix any leaks inside and outside of your home and clean moldy surfaces. Dehumidifiers will also help reduce mold.
Avoid Outdoor Allergens
Stay indoors. Stay inside during peak pollen times. Stay indoors when humidity is high and on days with high wind, when dust and pollen are more likely to be in the air
Reduce allergen exposure in the car. Keep your car windows closed when traveling.
Limit the amount of pollen inhaled. Wear a facemask if you are outside to limit the amount of pollen you inhale.
Limit the amount of pollen with which you are in contact. Shower after spending time outside to wash away pollen that collects on your skin and hair.