It’s the season for sneezing and itching! If you live in one of the top 2022 Allergy Capitals™, use AAFA’s tips to reduce your contact with pollen and improve your quality of life.
More than 50 million Americans live with various types of allergies every year. Many of them have seasonal pollen allergies. AAFA’s yearly Allergy CapitalsTM report explores how challenging it is to live with spring or fall allergies in the top 100 U.S. cities*.
The report looks at these important factors:
This year’s report named Scranton, Pennsylvania, as the top 2022 Allergy Capital™ due to its:
*Data was studied from the 100 most-populated U.S. metropolitan areas.
The top 10 most challenging places to live with seasonal allergies are:
The top 10 least challenging places to live with seasonal allergies are:
In the spring, the warm weather brings people outdoors to face one of the season’s biggest problems: tree pollen. Grass pollen follows later in spring into summer. Then in the late summer and early fall, weed pollen – especially ragweed pollen – can trigger symptoms just as kids are returning to school.
Common symptoms of allergic rhinitis caused by seasonal allergies include:
Take these actions to reduce your contact with pollen:
When cleaning inside your home, be aware that you may stir up pollen that has collected on surfaces. CERTIFIED asthma & allergy friendly® vacuums and dusting cloths help trap and contain allergens such as pollen.
There are also over-the-counter and prescription allergy treatments available to prevent or treat allergy symptoms:
Talk with your doctor before your pollen allergy seasons begin to discuss which treatment is right for you.
The impact of climate change has become a dangerous cycle. Rising global temperatures lead to more extreme weather. Weather changes – such as heat waves and droughts – can lead to a lack of air flow. When the air doesn’t move, pollutants react together in the heat and sun. This increases ground-level ozone.1
Ground-level ozone is a major part of urban smog. More air pollution and smog cause higher levels of carbon dioxide (CO2). This results in warmer temperatures. And the cycle continues.
This cycle results in increased pollen. This can trigger asthma and allergy symptoms. Rising CO2 levels lead to longer growing seasons that change flowering time and increase pollen. The length of the growing season refers to the number of days when plant growth takes place. Warmer, longer seasons increase exposure to allergens that trigger asthma and other respiratory and allergic responses.2
Climate change is also impacting the health of people who live in urban centers. Warmer temperatures and extreme heat waves are made worse in urban areas due to an effect called an “urban heat island” (UHI). A UHI has higher temperatures than surrounding rural areas due to more buildings, roads, population, and lack of green space. Extreme heat made worse by UHIs can increase air pollution and allergic sensitivity.3 Climate change will make these UHIs worse. Black and Hispanic Americans − who already have higher rates of asthma and allergies − will be affected the most by worsening UHIs due to a long history of discrimination in U.S. housing policies.
If we don’t slow down the cycle, pollen production and air pollution will only get worse. Millions of people already have seasonal allergic rhinitis, and pollen allergies are a major cause. If this cycle continues, we may see the number of people with seasonal allergies increase.
Our Allergy Capitals™ report is an independent research project of AAFA.
Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, (2022). [2022 Allergy Capitals: The Most Challenging Places to Live With Allergies]. Retrieved from allergycapitals.com.
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1. Climate Central. (2019, July 30). Climate change is threatening air quality across the country. https://www.climatecentral.org/news/climate-change-is-threatening-air-quality-across-the-country-2019
2. Schmidt, C. W. (2016). Pollen overload: Seasonal allergies in a changing climate. Environmental Health Perspectives, 124(4). https://doi.org/10.1289/ehp.124-a70
3. D’Amato, G., Liccardi, G., D’Amato, M., & Cazzola, M. (2002). Outdoor air pollution, climatic changes and allergic bronchial asthma. European Respiratory Journal, 20(3), 763–776. https://doi.org/10.1183/09031936.02.00401402