A Ranking Of Us States With Highest & Lowest Pollen Counts
Achoo! Allergy season is rough when you have nasal allergies and live in one of the highest pollen count states. It can be challenging to enjoy the splendor of the seasons when you are busy sneezing, wheezing, and wiping your watery eyes.
Depending on where you live, a significant portion of the year may require you to take extra precautions to avoid allergy triggers. Staying inside during peak pollen times, which can be tracked with MapMyAir, and using an air purifier to improve your indoor air quality can help lessen your symptoms.
Pollen counters use their data to rank the lowest pollen count states and the highest pollen count states in the US each year. That information is then compiled by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America into their annual Most Challenging Places to Live With Allergies guide each year . The goal is to help improve the quality of life for people living with seasonal allergies.
The AAFAs handbook ranks heavy pollen locations by city and state and provides specifics about why it has ranked those areas as some of the worst for pollen allergy sufferers. Consumers can use the information to determine if their city contributes to the intensity of their pollen allergies.
How Does The Weather Affect Symptoms
- Humid air is moist and heavy. When the air is stagnant, air quality goes down, making breathing harder for everyone. It can trigger an asthma and allergy flare-up since mold and bacteria grow better in moist environments. Humid weather can worsen allergy symptoms.
- Hot weather often impacts air quality. Ozone can rise to dangerous levels, irritating your respiratory system. Increased traffic, exhaust, smog and other pollutants can make breathing harder if you have asthma.
- Cold, dry air may seem better for your breathing than hot, humid air, but unfortunately, breathing it in can make the bronchial tubes constrict and spasm as they try to keep airways open, making symptoms worse.
- Thunderstorms bring barometric changes, high humidity and winds that blow pollen and mold spores everywhere. This can lead to a phenomenon called thunderstorm asthma. In addition, lightning generates nitrogen oxides that can impact ground-level ozone, irritating the lungs and airways.
- Changing weather patterns alter barometric pressure, which can trigger sinus problems and make breathing harder if you have asthma.
Myths About Allergies And Asthma
There is a ton of information floating around in the world, and sometimes things stick that arent necessarily true. When it comes to medical conditions, these misconceptions can lead to patients waiting longer before seeking treatment, incorrectly diagnosing themselves, and using incorrect medications. To help you keep your facts straight, weve compiled a list of 25 common allergy and asthma myths!
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Worst Places To Live With Asthma
Take a look at the infographic above to see some of the key factors behind the worst places to live with asthma rankings, or see below to get additional insight for each city.
1. Springfield, MA
Springfield, MA was ranked as the worst place to live with asthma for the second year in a row due to its high number of asthma related emergency room visits, high pollen counts, and high prevalence of asthma overall.
2. Dayton, OH
Dayton, OH holds the second spot on this list as a result of its high asthma rate, indicated by the high usage of quick-relief asthma medicine and controllers.
3. Greensboro, NC
Greensboro, NC stands as the third worst city to live with asthma due to the low number of asthma specialists and a high rate of uninsured citizens, indicating many people arent getting proper treatment.
4. Philadelphia, PA
Philadelphia, PA is the fourth city on this list due to a high prevalence of asthma, high number of emergency room visits, and a high number of asthma-related fatalities. The area also has high airborne particle pollution, which makes managing asthma especially difficult.
5. Cleveland, OH
Cleveland, OH lands at the fifth spot due to its poor air quality, high rate of quick relief medicine use, and the fact that 9% of Cleveland residents have asthma.
6. Allentown, PA
7. Louisville, KY
8. Boston, MA
9. Omaha, NE
10. Milwaukee, WI
What Allergens Are In The Air Today
Checking the pollen count is only the beginning. Mold spores are also a problem for many people with allergies and asthma. With vigilance and elbow grease, people with mold allergies can keep indoor mold and mildew at bay.
Its a different story outdoors. Mold spores and seeds fly through the air from late spring through fall and grow on decaying leaves, compost piles and grasses. It peaks during the summer with hot, humid weather.
Mold never really goes away. Snow can cover mold but rarely kill it. Windy, rainy weather during any season sends spores airborne.
Checking pollen and mold counts using a website or local allergy forecast app can help you plan your daily activities and manage your symptoms.
Visit the National Allergy Bureau at AAAAI.org/nab for pollen count information. Visitairnow.gov for Environmental Protection Agency air quality alerts. Both websites also have apps available for smartphones and tablets.
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Managing Seasonal And Year
Around the house, follow these tips:
- Keep windows closed and keep windows open for perennial allergies .
- Wear an N95-rated mask, gloves, and sunglasses when gardening or performing yard work.
- Change clothes after completing outdoor activities.
- Remove shoes when entering your house.
- Shower before bed.
The Worst Places For Your Asthma: Cities And States To Avoid
When you have asthma, being exposed to certain environmental triggers can cause severe breathing difficulties. Consistent exposure to these triggers could make asthma symptoms worse, negatively impacting your quality of life. According to the CDC, over 26 million people living in America currently suffer from some sort of asthma. If you are one of these people, you have probably spent some time researching how to breathe easier by avoiding things that make your asthma worse.
Did you know that certain parts of the country present different obstacles to people living with asthma? Some cities or regions are known for poor air quality or high pollen counts that make it difficult for people with asthma to manage their symptoms. Heres how to know whether the area you live in could be making your asthma worse, along with helpful tips to breathe easier despite environmental triggers.
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Allergies: What Is It
Before we get to the options, it can be helpful to understand the condition. You may get a cold a few times a year, but those are not allergies. Every time your nose runs, it may not be due to allergies.
So just what exactly are allergies?
According to the AAFA, an allergy is a reaction within your immune system to a foreign substance in or in contact with your body. These substances are broadly called allergens.
An allergen can be eaten, inhaled into your lungs, injected into your body or simply something you touched. The reaction can cause coughing, sneezing, itchy eyes, a runny nose, and a scratchy throat. In severe cases, rashes, hives, low blood pressure, breathing trouble, asthma attacks, and even death have occurred. As stated above, there is no cure for allergies. But you can manage allergies with prevention and treatment.
What are common allergens? Bad news: your house is typically full of them. Mold, mildew, dust, dust mites, pet dander, pollen, dirt, grass, leaves, and even chemicals.
Allergens can live in any number of places throughout the home, including oft-overlooked flooring. However, theyre also found in indoor plants, bedding, and pillows, mattresses, stuffed toys, soft furniture, on pets, and in damp areas such as basements, kitchens and bathrooms.
So how can you possibly avoid something as prolific as an allergen from entering your home? Thats a tall order, as you can imagine, so lets start on the ground level.
Medications That May Worsen Asthma
Some medicines can trigger asthma flare-ups or prompt or worsen other respiratory symptoms, such as coughing. Inform every healthcare provider that treats you about your asthma and pay attention to asthma symptoms if you take any of the following medications.
- Beta-blockers: While cardio-specific beta-blockers are only supposed to act on the heart, older beta-blockers are known to worsen asthma symptoms.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in those with an allergy to NSAIDs
- Angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors
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Aafas 2021 Allergy Capitals Report Ranks Top Us Cities For Pollen Allergies
On Feb. 23, 2021, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America released its annual Allergy Capitals report for 2021. The report identifies the most challenging cities for spring and fall allergies in the top 100 metropolitan areas in the United States. Scranton, Pennsylvania, takes the top spot this year.
Cities are ranked based on three factors: spring and fall pollen scores, over-the-counter medicine use, and availability of board-certified allergists. Richmond, Virginia, held the #1 title in 2020.
The top 10 most challenging cities overall to live in with seasonal allergies in 2021 are:
To see the full 100-city list, go to allergycapitals.com. The report lists overall annual rankings and includes a seasonal breakdown for spring and fall.
Seasonal allergies cause seasonal allergic rhinitis. This is commonly called hay fever. If you have pollen allergies, allergy symptoms appear during the time of year when pollen starts releasing from the plants you may be allergic to such as trees, grasses, or weeds.
You may have pollen allergies if you get allergy symptoms in the early spring or during the late summer or early fall.
In some parts of the U.S., tree pollen season starts as early as January. It will continue through summer. In the fall, weed pollen especially ragweed causes symptoms. But you can find relief with the right treatment and by managing contact with pollen.
The 3 Best States To Live In If You Have Allergies
Allergies are a major concern for millions of Americans. Pollen and other seasonal issues can knock out productivity during the springtime and lead to itchy eyes, sore noses, and a general feeling of discomfort for an extended period of time. Verywell Health notes that climate change issues have led to longer allergy seasons all over the world, and made allergens more concentrated as well. The severity and length of seasonal allergies to say nothing of routine allergy issues that many others live with as well has made Americans rethink their home environments in a big way.
Moving is a significant step just to solve allergy issues, but it’s one that can make a massive impact on the health and wellness you experience on a daily basis. If you are suffering from seasonal allergies that are exacerbated by the environment you call home , then a move might be the perfect way to get a fresh start and bring in a new outlook on daily life.
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Dust Mites Are Caused By Having A Dirty Home
Two ways to prevent exposure to dust mites are to reduce humidity and block access to human skin. Using mattress or pillow covers can prevent dust mites from multiplying and keep them from irritating your skin and nasal passages. Washing your sheets regularly in warm water will also keep dust mite populations down.
What Are The Benefits Of Breathing Healthy Air And What Are Everyday Things That People Can Do To Breathe The Fullness Of Life
Clean air is essential for healthy lungs. The American Lung Association works to ensure that the air we breathe is clean and safe from harmful pollution. In fact, every year we publish our State of the Air Report, which looks at two of the most widespread and dangerous air pollutants, ozone and fine particulate matter. Our 2021 State of the Air Report found that more than 4 in 10 Americansover 135 million peopleare living in places with unhealthy levels of ozone or particle pollution.
One of the most important things you can do to Breathe the Fullness of Life is to keep sources of pollution out of your home. Check out these commonsense tips on Lung.org. Additionally, ventilation helps reduce indoor air pollution, but it works best if paired with keeping known sources of air pollution out of the building. For tips on how to use ventilation to protect your lung health, check out our section on Ventilation: How Buildings Breathe.
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How The Best And Worst Places To Live With Asthma Are Ranked
Alens list of the best and worst places to raise a child with asthma is based upon data from the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of Americas 2019 Asthma Capitals Report, which analyzed the top 100 U.S. metropolitan cities. The report utilized a weighted ranking system that considers asthma prevalence, asthma-related emergency department visits, and asthma-related deaths. Additionally, the study analyzed the following eight risk factors that can influence asthma outcomes: poverty, lack of health insurance, air quality, pollen count, long-term asthma controller use, quick-relief medicine use, smoke-free laws, and access to asthma specialists.
Furthermore, the AAFA also communicated with patients, doctors, and legislators to get a better understanding of the impact of having asthma in these cities. Each city is ranked from 1-100 with 1 being the worst city to live with asthma and 100 being the best of the group. Its important to note that asthma varies from person-to-person, meaning local asthma triggers could cause differences in each individuals experience by location.
Cleaning To Remove Allergens
Preventing an allergic reaction while living in one of the worst allergy states, might be achieved with cleaning.
Keeping high traffic areas clean, as well as your bedroom can go a long way to limit allergy symptoms. Here are some areas around the house to consider cleaning regularly.
Areas Around the House to Clean for Allergy Symptom Prevention
- All carpets and rugs
- Ensure your vacuum is equipped with a HEPA filter
- Clean/replace vacuum filters often
Best Areas For Allergies By Region
Its important to keep in mind that no place is safe from allergens. Theres a good chance that youll have some level of allergies regardless of where you are. Some of the proteins found in pollen are similar among plant families and are often highly cross-reactive. This means that you may develop an allergy to a new plant even after moving because its in the same plant family.
Its prudent to get allergy tested so that you are aware of what triggers your allergies, as different regions of the country have different levels of allergens. For example, the Pacific Northwest has lower amounts of ragweed pollen but the same amount of grass and tree pollen.
Taking Bee Pollen Can Treat Seasonal Pollen Allergies
While bee pollen contains many nutrients, it is NOT an approved treatment for allergies. The research on bee pollen in humans is still on going and as of right now, there isnt any to support the claim that it helps with allergies. In fact, there have been studies that show bee pollen can actually trigger an allergic reaction!
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Asthma Capitals: Full Report With Asthma Outcomes And Risk Factors
The COVID-19 pandemic impacted daily life in most of 2020. The pandemic influenced some changes in health outcomes and risk factors like pollen exposure, medicine use, and emergency room visits. In 2020, fewer people experienced pollen allergies due to COVID-19 restrictions, recommendations to stay indoors, and other preventative measures like mask wearing. As a result, use of long-term asthma medicines were also down along with fewer people heading to hospital emergency rooms for asthma.
Possible Causes Of Asthma
Most people with asthma developed the condition as children. Scientists dont know the exact cause of asthma, but they think there may be a connection to infections or contact with allergens in early life.
Usually, a family history of asthma or allergies increases the risk. There is no cure, but people living with asthma typically use a combination of lifestyle modifications and medications to reduce exposure to or the consequences of asthma triggers.
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Weve Crafted A List Of The 5 Best And Worst Cities For People Who Suffer From Asthma To Live In
Some cities are more asthma-friendly than others, and when we say asthma-friendly we mean the amount of air pollution,asthma occurrence rates, healthcare, public smoking rules, and poverty level. Every year, Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America rates U.S. cities as the best and worst for people who suffer from asthma to live in. Here are the results for 2018:
Laminate & Vinyl Flooring
Laminate and vinyl flooring meets the criteria of hard surface vs. soft, moving you away from some of the pitfalls of carpet. However, theyre not completely impervious to allergens either. Laminate and vinyl plank flooring dont trap allergens like carpet and theyre generally much easier to clean.
Luxury vinyl plank and vinyl tile flooring are one of the hottest new trends in flooring in recent years. Its durable, easy to clean and comes in a variety of trendsetting colors, patterns, and looks.
Vinyl is a good allergy-friendly alternative as its hard surface qualities make it easy to clean of dust and debris and dont lend towards trapping allergens. Be sure to check the VOC content of both the flooring and the adhesive used to install it, as these can be potent sources of allergy-inducing fumes. Higher-end vinyl products typically are the better option for both durability and VOC content. Truly a you-get-what-you-pay-for situation.
Laminate is a manufactured product and contains limited natural materials. The majority of laminate plank and rigid-core vinyl flooring products require click-lock and floating installation, eliminating the need for adhesives.
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