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U.S. cities in the south suffer the most from allergies

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
April 4th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

When it comes to allergy sufferers, American cities in the Deep South seem to suffer the worst. Unusually wet winters typically lead to high amounts of pollen and mold in the spring, meaning many will be grabbing tissues for watery eyes and runny noses. Jackson, Mississippi is ranked the "allergy capital" of the U.S. due to high pollen and a large percentage of residents relying on medications to ease their suffering.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - In fact, 2013 could be an all-time nightmare for allergies due to an unusually wet winter that could mean high levels of pollen and outdoor mold. Those are the predictions from a new report from the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) released this week. 

While it ranks high in the number of allergy suffers in its population, Jackson, Mississippi posts a shockingly low number of allergy specialists to attend to patients in need of allergy care.

The annual research project identified the 100 most challenging places to live with allergies when the flowers come out to bloom in the spring, based on an analysis of three factors for the 100 largest metro areas.

The data measured and compared for the ranking include: pollen scores (airborne grass/tree/weed pollen and mold spores, the number of allergy medications used per patient and the number of allergy specialists per patient.

Jackson, Mississippi rose to top spot on the list due to the fact that it has a small amount of board certified allergists per patient. Jackson also has a very high pollen count and its residents largely relied on taking medications for symptoms.

Close behind was Knoxville, Tennessee. In third place was the state's city of Chattanooga. McAllen, Texas was in fourth place and Louisville came in fifth. Fifteen of the top 25 cities were in the South and many believe that the early onset of spring is to blame.

"Severe weather patterns can bring higher temperatures, higher pollen levels and increased exposure to outdoor mold, resulting in spring allergies that can peak stronger and last longer," Dr. Bill Berger from the Allergy and Asthma Associates of Southern California said in a statement.

"Too often, people with seasonal allergies suffer silently while their symptoms worsen year after year. Allergy sufferers need to learn more about allergies and visit an allergy specialist for a proper diagnosis and treatment. Often more can be done to relieve allergy symptoms that interfere with daily life."

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