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Hartford Named Top 2006 Spring Allergy Capital

The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America® (AAFA) today announced its annual Spring Allergy Capitals™, a list of the top 100 most challenging places to live with allergies this season.  This spring, more than 50 million Americans will be concerned with allergies.  And some experts believe this allergy season will be especially difficult for sufferers because of the mild winter experienced by much of the country. 

Hartford, Conn., ranks as the No. 1 Spring Allergy Capital for 2006.  Hartford has some of the highest spring pollen levels, patient medication usage and a lower-than-average number of board certified allergists per patient, leading to its number one ranking in 2006.  The full ranking of 100 cities and free information about allergies can be found on the Foundation's Web site at www.AllergyCapitals.com.  

"Anyone who lives in an Allergy Capital should take the necessary steps to minimize the impact of allergies on their life," says Mike Tringale, Director of Communications for AAFA.  "The Allergy Capital ranking is a great tool to help increase awareness about what allergy sufferers can do to help avoid allergy triggers and actually enjoy the spring season."

The Top 10 2006 Spring Allergy Capitals include: 

1. Hartford, CT
2. Greenville, SC
3. Boston, MA
4. Detroit, MI
5. Orlando, FL
6. Knoxville, TN
7. Omaha, NE
8. Sacramento, CA
9. Washington, DC
10. Baltimore, MD

"The ranking shows that there really is no place safe from allergies this season and you need to manage your allergies no matter where you live," says Matthew Clarke, MD, a board-certified family physician. "Even if think you know the cause of your nasal allergy symptoms, a visit to the doctor is the best way to receive a proper diagnosis and appropriate treatments."

About the Allergy Capitals Research

The Allergy Capitals is an annual research project of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America to identify "the 100 most challenging places to live with allergies" in the spring and fall seasons. The rankings are based on scientific analysis of 3 factors for each of the 100 metro areas reviewed. The data measured and compared each year includes:

· Pollen scores (airborne grass/tree/weed pollen and mold spores)*
· Number of allergy medications used per patient
· Number of allergy specialists per patient

About Allergies

· Allergies are diseases of the immune system that cause an overreaction to substances normally considered harmless. Exposure to some inhaled allergens may cause symptoms of allergic rhinitis, which include nasal congestion, sneezing, runny nose, and itchy nose. Seasonal allergic rhinitis, also called "hay fever," occurs during certain times of the year as a result of pollen from grasses and trees.  Perennial allergic rhinitis is caused by allergens such as dust mites, and pet dander from cats or dogs and can affect sufferers year-round.

· A visit to the doctor is the best way to properly diagnose your allergy symptoms.  If you are suffering from nasal congestion, which sufferers say is the most bothersome symptom of allergic rhinitis1, your doctor may recommend a prescription nasal-inhaled steroid, like Nasonex.

AAFA's Tips for The Outdoors

· Check the pollen count each day.  Enjoy outdoor activities when the pollen counts are low and consider an indoor activity if the pollen count is high.

· Save yard work for the afternoon.  Pollen counts are highest from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m.  Also, avoid freshly cut grass, and use a pollen-filtering mask while working in the yard.

· Research your destination.  AAFA's Web site, www.AllergyCapitals.com, can help you understand which allergens may be prevalent in different regions of the country.  

· Keep your windows closed at home and in the car during high pollen days.  If you are outside on a high pollen day, make sure to shower and change clothes as soon as you get home to prevent pollen from collecting in your hair and on your body.

AAFA's Tips for The Indoors

· Take your shoes off.  Much of the household dirt, dust and allergens come from the bottom of shoes.  By taking your shoes off at the door, you avoid bringing them into your home.

· Wash bedding, uncovered pillows and stuffed toys in hot water (130° F.) weekly.  For other soft surfaces in your home that cannot be easily washed, such as sofas, carpets, pet beds, bed comforters and floor rugs, creative tools like Febreze Allergen Reducer® Fabric Refresher, may help, which has been shown through research to reduce up to 75% of cat, dog, and dust mite allergens that can become airborne from fabrics around the house.

· Keep humidity levels low.  Keep the air conditioning set at a lower temperature and reduce moisture around the home.  Dehumidifiers will help reduce both mold and dust mites.

· Dust regularly.  Use products such as Swiffer® Dusters, which can help reduce cat, dog, and dust mite allergens, as well as common household dirt and dust that accumulates on hard surfaces around the house.

· Cover mattresses and pillows in zippered dust-proof covers.  These allergen-impermeable covers are made of a material with pores designed to help minimize the penetration of allergens.

The 2006 AAFA Spring Allergy Capitals program is supported by Procter & Gamble, makers of Febreze Allergen Reducer® Fabric Refresher and Swiffer® Dusters, Schering-Plough, makers of Nasonex® (mometasone furoate monohydrate) Nasal Spray, 50 mcg*, and Pollen.com, a division of Surveillance Data, Inc. The full Spring Allergy Capital ranking is available at www.allergycapitals.com. Neither the companies nor the products are affiliated or associated with one another.

About The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America

The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, a not-for-profit organization founded in 1953, is the leading patient organization for people with asthma and allergies. It provides practical information, community-based services, and support, through a national network of chapters and support groups. AAFA develops health education, organizes state and national advocacy efforts, and funds research to find better treatments and cures.

About Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG)

Three billion times a day, P&G brands touch the lives of people around the world. The company has one of the strongest portfolios of trusted, quality, leadership brands, including Pampers®, Tide®, Ariel®, Always®, Whisper®, Pantene®, Mach3®. Bounty®, Dawn®, Pringles®, Folgers®, Charmin®, Downy®, Lenor®, Iams®, Crest®, Oral-B®, Actonel®, Duracell®, Olay®, Head & Shoulders®, Wella, Gillette®, and Braun.  The P&G community consists of almost 140,000 employees working in over 80 countries worldwide.  Please visit
http://www.pg.com for the latest news and in-depth information about P&G and its brands.

About Nasonex and Schering-Plough

Nasonex remains the only nasal-inhaled-steroid approved to treat nasal allergy symptoms, including nasal congestion, in patients as young as 2 years of age, and the only once-daily prescription nasal-inhaled-steroid approved to help prevent most seasonal nasal allergy symptoms, including nasal congestion, in adults and children 12 years of age and older when Nasonex is started 2 to 4 weeks prior to allergy season.  Nasonex also is the only nasal-inhaled steroid approved for the treatment of nasal polyps in adults 18 years of age and older.

Originally approved in 1997, Nasonex is an intranasal corticosteroid related to cortisol, a hormone produced naturally by the body, and when used as directed, is safe, nonsedating and not addictive.  Side effects were generally mild and included headache, viral infection, sore throat, nosebleeds, and coughing.  Visit http://www.nasonex.com for more information on helping prevent and treating seasonal nasal allergies.  For additional important safety information, full prescribing information is available at: http://www.spfiles.com/pinasonex.pdf.

Schering-Plough (NYSE: SGP) is a global science-based health care company with leading prescription, consumer and animal health products.  Through internal research and collaborations with partners, Schering-Plough discovers, develops, manufactures and markets advanced drug therapies to meet important medical needs.  Schering-Plough's vision is to earn the trust of the physicians, patients and customers served by its more than 30,000 people around the world. The company is based in Kenilworth, N.J., and its Web site is http://www.schering-plough.com.

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