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Fall Allergy Capitals: The Worst Cities for People With Fall Allergies

Dayton, Ohio Tops the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America's Fall Allergy Capitals List
By
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD

Oct. 27, 2010 -- Dayton, Ohio, tops the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America’s list as the toughest place to live in the fall for people with allergies, moving up from sixth in last year’s ranking of the nation’s 100 largest metropolitan areas.

The AAFA says the rankings are based on a scientific analysis of three factors: airborne pollen counts from grass, trees, weeds, and mold spores; the number of allergy medications used per patient; and the number of allergy specialists per capita in each area.

Dayton’s score was 100. The city that’s best for people with fall allergies, Portland, Ore., had a score of 34.49. 

The top five allergy capitals for fall 2010 and their scores are:

Dayton, Ohio           100.00

Wichita, Kan.        97.58

Louisville, Ky.             96.61

Knoxville, Tenn.         95.63

Jackson, Miss.              95.01 

The five cities with lowest scores, meaning the cities that are best for people with fall allergies, are:

Portland, Ore.               34.49

Seattle, Wash.               41.35

San Diego, Calif.            43.31

Sacramento, Calif.        45.26

Albany, N.Y.                    48.24 

The AAFA says 40 million Americans have allergic rhinitis, also called hay fever, seasonal allergies, or nasal allergies. Although many people with allergies stay indoors in the spring and fall, when pollen counts are high, the AAFA says the air inside homes can be more polluted than outdoor air. Besides pollen, other culprits that can trigger allergy symptoms include dust mites, animal dander, and cockroaches.

Tips for People With Allergies

The AAFA and Waterpik, a company that makes a line of sinus wash products, offer three strategies for improving indoor air quality:

  •  Eliminate sources of indoor pollution.
  • Ventilate adequately.
  • Clean your indoor air. 

Tips to improve indoor air quality:

  • Keep your house clean to control dust mites and animal dander. This means removing pets, carpets, overstuffed furniture, stuffed toys, old mattresses, pillows, and bedding. If you decide to keep the pet inside, bar it from the bed and bedroom.
  •  When you choose a pet, consider getting one without feathers or fur.
  • Vacuum once or twice weekly. Wear a dust mask while doing housework. Leave the house for several hours after cleaning to let it air out.
  • Use HEPA air filters to remove allergen particles from the air. Dehumidifiers can help, too. Reducing humidity in your home can decrease dust mite and mold growth.
  • Cover vents with dense material such as cheesecloth or special filters.
  • Keep windows and doors closed and set the air conditioner on recirculate.
  • Kill cockroaches or take steps to keep them at bay, such as never leaving food out or garbage uncovered. And use poison baits, boric acid, and traps instead of chemical agents that might irrigate nasal allergies. 

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