May 18, 2010 -- Knoxville, Tenn., has garnered the No. 1 spot as the "most challenging" place to live in America for people with spring allergies, says a new ranking by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA).
Knoxville has it all: high pollen counts, high use of allergy medications by residents, and not enough allergists to treat them, says the AAFA, which ranked America's 100 allergy capitals.
The 10 worst spring allergy capitals are:
1. Knoxville, Tenn.
2. Louisville, Ky.
3. Chattanooga, Tenn.
4. Dayton, Ohio
5. Charlotte, N.C.
7. Greensboro, N.C.
8. Jackson, Miss.
9. St. Louis
10. Wichita, Kan.
The bottom 10 -- those considered best for people with spring allergies -- are:
100. Harrisburg, Pa.
99. San Diego
98. Daytona Beach, Fla.
97. Boise City, Idaho
95. Oxnard, Calif.
94. Fresno. Calif.
92. Los Angeles
91. Colorado Springs, Colo.
The AAFA says May is the height of the outdoor allergy season. It says more than 35 million Americans suffer from nasal allergies and that 20 million-plus have asthma.
The "love of the outdoors clashes head-on with the reality that asthma and allergy triggers are at their peak this time of year, and in every corner of the U.S.," the AAFA says in a news release. "It's no surprise why May is National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month."
Beth Corn, MD, of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and past president of the New York Allergy and Asthma Society, says some people think they can stay indoors and avoid allergens, but indoor air quality can be poor, too. Indoor allergy culprits include dust mites, pet dander, mold, and pollen.
Allergies are a year-round problem, the organization says, adding that people should take steps to reduce irritants.
Here's the complete AAFA's list of the 100 worst cities for people with allergies. The total score for each city is based on pollen count, use of medication per sufferer, and number of board-certified allergists per 10,000 patients.