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What Makes a Place Allergy-Friendly? continued...

Geography. Mountainous areas are often considered less allergy-prone than valleys. Note Salt Lake City and Colorado Springs on the top 10 list. The Mountain West usually has much lower pollen counts than the Southeast and Midwest, because it doesn’t have the large expanses of wild grasses that can kick up pollen. But in spring 2010, people with allergies in Mountain West states like Idaho were complaining of one of the worst allergy seasons in years.

Living near the ocean is also considered a good allergy precaution, as the ocean breezes tend to blow allergens away. That’s probably why Portland, Seattle, and San Diego did so well on the list.

Weather. It’s six of one, half dozen of the other with this factor. Moist, humid air -- like the kind you find in the southeastern U.S. -- can be very pollen-friendly. So areas where the air is drier, like the Mountain West, may provoke fewer allergic reactions. On the other hand, dry air dries out your nasal passages.

City vs. Country. If you have seasonal allergies, you might think you’d be better off living in the city, away from all the crops, grasses, flowers, and other allergen magnets found in the countryside. But you might be surprised, says Sublett.

“In the city, you have a lot of allergy triggers like pollution, particularly diesel particulates,” says Sublett. “And you may inhale just as much pollen or ragweed from weeds and plants growing along the curbs and in vacant lots.”

No matter how appealing it may sound, moving to Portland or Seattle -- or the North Pole -- isn’t the solution to your allergy problem, says Sublett. “You might temporarily have some relief, but as you live in a new place for awhile, someone who has a tendency toward seasonal allergies will start developing sensitivities to that area’s outdoor pollen, and every part of the country has certain pollens that tend to be a problem at particular times of the year.”

So instead of packing up your moving boxes, pack up your seasonal allergy tool kit with as much information as you can about the seasonal allergies you have and how you can manage them right where you are. Start with a visit to an allergy specialist . “Focus on doing what you can to make where you’ve living the best it can be for your allergies,” Sublett says.

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