April 8, 2011 -- The charm of a Southern spring may be lost on millions of seasonal allergy sufferers. A new study shows Knoxville and a host of other Southern cities top the list of the worst places to live with spring allergies.
It’s the second year in a row the Allergy and Asthma Foundation of America has given the dubious honor of “the most challenging place to live with spring allergies” to the east Tennessee town. Rounding out the top five were four other Southern cities: Louisville, Ky.; Charlotte, N.C.; Jackson, Miss.; and Chattanooga.
The rankings are based on an analysis of the following three factors for the 100 largest metro areas in the U.S.:
Pollen scores (airborne grass/tree/weed pollen and mold spores)
Researchers say Knoxville’s top spot this year was primarily because of a higher-than-average use of allergy medications per patient and higher-than-average pollen counts. The city has ranked in the top 10 on the annual report for six out of the past nine years.
The report shows seasonal allergies continue to be a challenge nationwide for 40 million Americans.
But the good news is that for the first time in nine years, the average number of allergy medications per person is less than 1.0. The national average is now 0.94 allergy medications per person.
Researchers say the report mostly measured prescription allergy medication purchases and refills, and this decline is likely a sign that people are relying more and more on the growing array of over-the-counter allergy medications.
How to Tame Spring Allergies
Moving may be out of the question for most seasonal allergy sufferers, but there are simple steps people can take to reduce their suffering.
Researchers say many people with nasal allergies stay inside when pollen counts are high in the spring and fall. But the air indoors can be up to 10 times more polluted than outdoor air.