10 worst cities for fall allergies
September 18th, 2013
11:51 AM ET

10 worst cities for fall allergies

Although the allergy season has gotten off to a late start, this fall could be a "perfect storm for allergy sufferers," according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. And residents in 10 cities across America will be feeling it more than others.

AAFA has published their annual ranking of fall "allergy capitals" - the most-challenging places in the United States to live in for people with allergies.

The rankings are based on average pollen levels, resident reliance on over-the-counter and prescription allergy medications, and the number of board certified allergists in each city. Topping the list this year is Wichita, Kansas, which ranked second last year.

The remainder of the top 10 for 2013 are:

2. Jackson, Mississippi
3. Knoxville, Tennessee
4. Louisville, Kentucky
5. Memphis, Tennessee
6. McAllen, Texas
7. Baton Rouge, Louisiana
8. Dayton, Ohio
9. Chattanooga, Tennessee
10. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

The full list includes 100 cities across the country. Charleston, South Carolina, made the biggest jump on the list from No. 42 to No. 26.

Ragweed is the biggest culprit in causing fall allergies, according to AAFA; there are 17 different species found in the United States, and it's found most often in rural areas in the Northeast and Midwest.

"Scientists estimate that a single ragweed plant can release one billion grains of pollen over the course of ragweed season," an AAFA fact sheet states. "Ragweed pollen grains are light and are easily dispersed by the gentlest of breezes."

Weather plays a big role in the severity of allergy season. Higher-than-average temperatures in the fall can produce more pollen, which is distributed over wider areas by strong winds. Mold caused by flooding or storms is also attributing to outdoor allergens, the AAFA says.

"Extreme weather conditions are resulting in greater exposure to allergens, triggering seasonal allergy symptoms to peak earlier and last longer for many people."

soundoff (37 Responses)
  1. Portland tony

    CNN's interns asleep again. Is this garbage really on topic?

    September 18, 2013 at 13:57 | Report abuse | Reply
    • swohio

      I have to agree with Jeff. You read the headline and you knew what the article would be about, so you wasted your own time by not only clicking to read it, but to also leave a comment.

      September 18, 2013 at 17:45 | Report abuse |
    • janie

      no kidding...u must love to hate, and have nothing better to do then find articles you dont like and leave stupid comments..im really sorry that youre so miserable...

      September 19, 2013 at 01:06 | Report abuse |
    • johm

      Yes! Because it's one of the few lists where Memphis is near the top, and it's not about violent crime or teenage pregnacy!

      September 19, 2013 at 10:40 | Report abuse |
    • Linda

      What do you mean on topic?

      September 23, 2013 at 01:08 | Report abuse |
  2. cali girl

    No matter where I go, what time of year, my allergies go with me. Allergic to Dust mites, and basically dust is everywhere.

    September 18, 2013 at 14:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. DCBuck

    Not buying this list. I grew up in OH, and have been living in the DC area for the last 10 years. Ever since I moved here, my allergies have gone haywire. Have talked to other transplants, and they say the same thing. DC has a high concentration of trees, so every spring, everything gets coated in a thick, yellow blanket of pollen that lasts for weeks, and the tree and ragweed pollen in the fall is even worse.

    September 18, 2013 at 17:51 | Report abuse | Reply
    • janie

      well, that may be JUST you and a few that you ahve talked to....these studies are done to find out the "most" i believe, hence the top 10????

      September 19, 2013 at 01:05 | Report abuse |
    • Me

      I use to live in DC as well as MD. This year was the WORST (and I usually never have issues with allergies) and Im probably on the hit list for Sudafed! I knew that "yellow dust" all too well! 🙁 Im in Austin TX right now.....and no issues at all!

      September 19, 2013 at 11:06 | Report abuse |
    • Barada

      The list is for "Fall allergies". Go back and read it.

      September 22, 2013 at 20:52 | Report abuse |
    • Linda

      My eyes welled up shut on a trip to DC a few years ago. When I went to the emergency room, the doctors said "Welcome to Washington, DC, pollen capital of the world."

      September 23, 2013 at 01:10 | Report abuse |
  4. Ann

    Interesting study. Made more interesting by the fact that it is from Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA). It is sponsored by a drug company: The report is an independent research project of AAFA and is sponsored by DYMISTA® (azelastine HCl and fluticasone propionate), a prescription nasal spray indicated for the relief of symptoms of seasonal allergic rhinitis.

    September 19, 2013 at 01:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. David Anderson

    Anne: your comment said it all.

    September 19, 2013 at 06:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. humtake

    Pollen covers cars in Florida like the snow does in Maine. My car has a permanent yellow tint to it 2 months every year. And they aren't in the top 10. I guess our pollen is the non-allergy kind.

    September 19, 2013 at 07:48 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Tompson

      it says "fall" allergies. Tree pollen that covers everything in Florida appears in the spring.

      September 22, 2013 at 10:54 | Report abuse |
  7. Erica

    San Antonio is just about the worst place to be right now if you are an allergy sufferer. The mold is well above 10000 and the Fall Elm is getting up there.

    September 19, 2013 at 08:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Leigh

    I used to have spring allergies. Now I have spring, summer and fall allergies. This year was the worst of all time. What gives?

    September 19, 2013 at 09:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. gt

    I have horrible allergies but thankfully San Francisco has a super mild climate!

    September 19, 2013 at 11:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Padmanabham

    Pollen may be naturally present based on seasons. However , Welcome to SF BayArea ,California where traffic smog and pollution is round the year to cause breathing difficulties. One of my friends gave a great quote "The air is clear, but toxic!"

    September 19, 2013 at 12:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. FrmrMrine

    Didn't really need any more reasons to stay out of the South. But thanks anyway.

    September 19, 2013 at 12:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Travis

    Wait a second, if ragweed is the biggest culprit of fall allergies and it is most prominent in the Northeast and Midwest, how come none of that top 10 list has any areas from the NE of MW? (Okay so it does have one from Ohio but that is barely midwest ha. Everything else in the south.....one would think a story about how bad allergies are in the south would have some info about the allergens in the south....not the NE or MW.

    September 19, 2013 at 13:52 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Liz

      Wichita, KS is in the Midwest.

      September 19, 2013 at 14:01 | Report abuse |
  13. Brenda

    I used to never have allergies until I moved to Wichita. Then I started having sinus drainage that would lead to strep throat. I get it multiple times a year. It sucks. I can't wait to move!

    September 19, 2013 at 14:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Leschiguy

    I had bad allergies growing up in New Jersey. Packed two handkerchiefs every day. This ended when I lived in Sudan for 2.5 years. Nothing organic in the air, no humidity for mold. After returning to the States, I continue to have much reduced allergies decades later. Maybe giving the immune system a rest once in a while can be helpful. Is it worth living in Sudan? Your call.

    September 19, 2013 at 20:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. mtnman

    Oh well. Chattanooga is in the top 10 but it's still home to me.

    September 19, 2013 at 20:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. wadej420

    march against monsanto! oct. 19th world wide!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 20, 2013 at 20:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. TNchickadee

    Interesting how Memphis, Chattanooga and Knoxville made the list but Nashville DIDNT.

    September 21, 2013 at 05:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Tingar

    I would love to see an article showing the top ten best places to live if you have allergies!!

    September 22, 2013 at 15:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • TraveledExtensively

      Me Too!!!
      Found that different strains of same (tree, weed, grass, etc etc) tend to exaggerate pre-existing sensitivities in locations outside of home region (note for those moving and traveling) – Pollen is Everywhere on this planet (except Antartica!) in some months (or many) of the year! Clarinox (or derivitaves Claritin) have proved to provide the best relief for me (sr. citizen).

      September 23, 2013 at 09:37 | Report abuse |
  19. Jennifer

    Just like the rest of my family I have all year round allergies but we have all been using a nasal spray which is british. The last time i got it it only took five days to arrive. i would urge anyone looking for an alterative to try this sinusoother from britaen. My sister has been using the sinubalm also from sinusoother and says it works fab.

    September 25, 2013 at 12:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Claudia

    I been in el paso, wichita ks, colorado, austin I say Austin is the top of my worst experience with allergies always feel sick

    November 25, 2013 at 20:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Top Motor Car

    If I take an entire article from WIKIA with informations, script especially and I post it on my site, translating the infos into my language, is this a problem? the scripts from WIKIA are copyrighted or smth or there is a way they could close my site?.


    October 15, 2015 at 07:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Faylinn

    I am not surprised that Oklahoma City, Oklahoma made the top 10 cities for allergies in the country. I lived in OKC for two years as part of a church mission trip and one of my leaders told me that if I didn't have allergies that I would have them from living there and he was right! However, I am surprised that it is so much lower than Wichita, Kansas, because those two cities are near each other and have similar climates. What is so different about the two cities that makes them be so far from each other on this list? http://midamericaent.com/services/

    June 1, 2016 at 13:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. jesse grillo

    I've had difficulty clearing my thoughts in getting my thoughts out. Thanks for writing this. Wow, that's a really clever way of thkinnig about it! Greetings from Florida!


    July 21, 2017 at 17:16 | Report abuse | Reply
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