America’s “Gateway to the West” has now taken on a new – and not exactly desirable – nickname. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) has ranked St. Louis, MO as the No. 1 most challenging city for an asthma-sufferer in 2009. This is due to a number of factors, including a higher than average annual pollen count, poor air quality, a lack of public smoke-free laws, and a worse than average crude death rate from asthma. The Midwestern city rose to the top of the list from No. 9 last year, replacing 2008’s Asthma Capital, Knoxville, TN.
The other cities ranked in the top 10 are:
2. Milwaukee, WI
3. Birmingham, AL
4. Chattanooga, TN
5. Charlotte, NC
6. Memphis, TN
7. Knoxville, TN
8. McAllen, TX
9. Atlanta, GA
10. Little Rock, AR
AAFA’s annual Asthma Capitals research study evaluates America’s 100 largest metropolitan areas against 12 factors. These include the crude death rate for asthma; the prevalence of adult and pediatric asthma; the risk factors for asthma, such as air pollution, pollen counts, and public smoking bans; and medical factors, such as the number of asthma medications used per patient and the number of asthma specialists in the area. To date, an estimated 20 million Americans suffer from the disease, and roughly 11 Americans die from asthma complications every day.
Many asthma specialists continually stress that while there is no cure for asthma and no city that is truly 100-percent free of asthma-triggers, it is possible to keep the disease under control. Medication is by far the most effective treatment. But there are also a few things you can do in your indoor environment to help manage your symptoms and reduce the severity of your attacks.
Because our indoor air quality is often 5 times more polluted than the air outdoors, consider using an air purifier designed for asthma control to help clear out common indoor triggers like mold, secondhand smoke, pet dander, and dust. The IQAir HealthPro Plus is a great choice. The unit filters out 99% of these triggers as well as gas traces and odors using a HyperHEPA filter, which has been proven to filter better than regular HEPA filters.
Use a steam cleaner to clean the surfaces of your home instead of using liquid household cleaners, which emit strong chemical odors that may aggravate your symptoms. A Ladybug steam cleaner turns water into a dry, disinfecting steam and then uses the steam to wash away dirt, grease, grime, and germs. These cleaning systems leave no chemical residue and can be used to clean a wide variety of surfaces.
You can also clean and disinfect surfaces safely with light. The Verilux UV-C Sanitizing Wand uses ultraviolet germicidal light to kill 99.9% of germs, bacteria, and allergens in roughly 30 seconds. The list of surfaces on which you can use the wand is seemingly endless. Use it to disinfect bedding, countertops, bathroom fixtures, telephones, computer keyboards, remote controls, utensils, clothing, hygiene items, and more.