It’s the season for sneezing and itching! If you live in one of the top 2021 Allergy Capitals™, use AAFA’s tips to reduce your contact with pollen and improve your quality of life.
More than 50 million Americans are living with nasal allergies and about half of those people 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 three important factors:
This year’s report named Scranton, Pennsylvania, as the top 2021 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 will bring 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 make you miserable.
Common symptoms of seasonal allergies include:
There are apps you can use to watch your area’s pollen. On days when counts are high for what you are allergic to, take these actions to reduce your contact with pollen:
There are also options available to prevent or treat allergy symptoms:
Talk with your doctor before allergy seasons begins to discuss which treatment is right for you.
The Impact of COVID-19
In 2020, fewer people were affected by pollen allergies. When the year started, experts thought weather and pollen would have significant effects. But by the spring, COVID-19 restrictions kept people inside more. This led to less pollen exposure. Children felt the least impact from seasonal allergies due to closed schools and less time spent outdoors.
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 also contribute to rising temperatures, leading to longer growing seasons. The length of the growing season refers to the number of days when plant growth takes place. With warmer, longer seasons, allergy-causing plants can move into new areas.
If we don’t slow down the cycle, pollen production will only get worse. More than 24 million people already have seasonal allergic rhinitis, and pollen allergies are a major cause.2 If this cycle continues, we may see the number of people with seasonal allergies increase.
Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, (2021). [2021 Allergy Capitals: The Most Challenging Places to Live With Allergies]. Retrieved from allergycapitals.com.
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Our Allergy Capitals™ report is an independent research project of AAFA.