Planning a Spring Vacation: Beware of Allergy Capitals

Roughly 20 percent of American citizens are affected annually by pollen and seasonal allergies. According to the 2016 Spring Allergy Capitals report, the most allergy-intense locations are as follows.

  • Memphis, TN
  • Louisville, KY
  • Syracuse, NY
  • McAllen, TX
  • Jackson, MS

The report is released each year by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America and stratifies the 100 cities in America that pose the biggest challenge for spring allergy sufferers. The data is based on the pollen count, rate of allergy medication usage, and access to board certified allergists for allergy treatment.

Early in spring, pollinating trees are responsible for much of the allergic misery. In late spring and early summer, grasses come into play. Commons symptoms of seasonal allergies include itchy throat, sneezing, swollen sinuses, headache, eczema, watery eyes, an itchy or runny nose, and asthma.

Sanctuary from allergies?

People used to move to the Southwest to get out of the way of pollens, but there are no “safe havens” from allergies anymore. While some states (such as Arizona) may not have as many native allergy-causing plants, newcomers to the state have “beautified” the landscape with many of the same plants that cause allergies in other parts of the country. So while some cities may be better than others for allergy sufferers, most cities provide at least some “opportunity” for allergic reactions to occur.

Why the body reacts

If our body did just what it was supposed to, it would ignore all of those pollen spores swirling around in the spring breezes. Instead, it mistakes them as “foreign invaders.” In response, it releases chemicals like histamine to “fight” the invaders off. Histamine doesn’t hurt the pollens—it hurts the allergy sufferer by causing a whole host of miserable symptoms.

Over-the-counter medicines can treat basic symptoms but they may only be partially effective, and recurring doses year-after-year can be costly. For those with significant allergies or allergies that flare during more than a few months of the year, immunotherapy may be the best solution for allergy treatment. It “re-programs” the immune system so it learns to tolerate the allergens and stop reacting to them long term. Allergy immunotherapy is available through allergy shots or allergy drops (sublingual immunotherapy). Contact Family Allergy Clinic today for more information about allergy drops.