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Asthma and Cities: Which Cities Rank Best?

You may already know the worst cities for asthma. What about the best?
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'Best' Cities for Asthma? continued...

Other Allergens. Keep in mind that cities in general are likely to have pests -- like cockroaches, mice, and rats -- all of which can trigger allergies and asthma attacks. They're often most problematic in poorer urban neighborhoods.

Smoking Ordinances. When evaluating a particular city's effect on asthma, it's not only about pollen counts and weather. Charlot says that smoking laws -- banning smoking in workplaces and restaurants, for instance -- may be having a real impact on asthma symptoms.

"Some studies have found that in cities that enact smoking legislation, there's a decrease in ER visits for asthma emergencies," Charlot tells WebMD.

Asthma and Cities: Should I Move?

Understandably, many people living in cities and suffering with asthma are desperate to get out. They want to move, convinced that life in another part of the country will resolve their asthma symptoms. However, asthma experts generally advise against the idea.

Why? For one, it often doesn't work. Asthma is such a complex disease -- affected by so many different factors -- that it's hard to predict how a person will do in a new location, Waldron says.

Another thing to keep in mind: people who have allergies are prone to developing new allergies. So after all the bother of moving, you could just wind up trading your old ragweed allergy in Boston for a brand new oak tree allergy in Palm Bay, Fla.

Be very cautious when considering a move because of your asthma symptoms. Remember, there's no best city for asthma. If you're determined, Bernstein recommends that you try living in the new location for a few months before permanently uprooting yourself.

Controlling Your Asthma Symptoms

Of course, you could be living in one of the "best" cities for asthma and still have the nation's worst asthma symptoms. Location matters less than how well you're controlling your condition, experts say.

Start at home. Even if you have no power over the weather, smog, or the pollen count outside your house, you do have some control over the allergens and irritants inside it. And what's inside might have a bigger impact on your asthma symptoms.

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