No Place is Free From Allergies in America,
According to The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America

WASHINGTON, Sept. 27, 2012 There is no place safe from allergies in America, and some cities are more problematic than others. The Fall Allergy Capitals is an annual research project of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) to identify “the 100 most challenging places to live with allergies” during the fall season. This year, Louisville, KY, is named the #1 Fall Allergy Capital.

Fall is a time to enjoy beautiful colors and autumn weather outdoors. But for 40 million Americans with seasonal allergies, this time of year brings an unwelcome harvest: trillions of pollen particles travelling through the air right into your eyes, nose and mouth. “Everyone seems to be feeling allergies these days and fall is the most common allergy season after spring,” says Dr. Beth Corn, “No matter if it’s men, women or children, in the city, suburbs or the country, allergies don’t discriminate.”

No matter where a city ranks on the list of Fall Allergy Capitals, it’s important for people to know if their hometown or area is included. “Whether a city is ranked number 100 on the Allergy Capitals list or number one, it’s essential for allergy sufferers to take the appropriate steps to manage their allergies,” says Mike Tringale, Director of External Affairs at AAFA. “Allergy sufferers should know what allergens trigger their symptoms and, if appropriate, manage them by taking a medication that can alleviate both outdoor and indoor allergies.”

In addition to outdoor allergies, people may suffer during the fall from indoor allergies caused by common allergy triggers like pet dander and dust mites. Ragweed and pollen can also travel indoors through open windows and doors. Upper respiratory allergies, which can be caused by both indoor and outdoor allergy triggers, can be a significant challenge for people year round.

To help allergy suffers enjoy indoor and outdoor activities this fall, AAFA is directing people to www.AllergyCapitals.com. By visiting the website, Americans can learn if their city is an Allergy Capital and get information about allergy symptoms, how to reduce exposure to triggers, and how to better treat their symptoms.

Danica Schulte, M.D., of Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, has seen many allergy sufferers head indoors each fall in an attempt to escape their worst allergy triggers. “Many patients come to me because they’re tired of missing out on outdoor activities they enjoy and I assure them that they shouldn’t have to,” Dr. Schulte says.

About The Asthma & Allergy Capitals

The Allergy Capitals is an annual research project of AAFA to identify “the 100 most challenging places to live with allergies” in the spring and fall seasons. The top 25 Fall Allergy Capitals for 2012 are (go to www.AllergyCapitals.com for complete list):

  1. Louisville, KY
  2. Wichita, KS
  3. Knoxville, TN
  4. Jackson, MS
  5. McAllen, TX
  6. Dayton, OH
  7. Oklahoma City, OK
  8. Memphis, TN
  9. Madison, WI
  10. Baton Rouge, LA
  11. Chattanooga, TN
  12. Buffalo, NY
  13. New Orleans, LA
  14. Rochester, NY
  15. San Antonio, TX
  16. Little Rock, AR
  17. Birmingham, AL
  18. Grand Rapids, MI
  19. Tulsa, OK
  20. Youngstown, OH
  21. Syracuse, NY
  22. Omaha, NE
  23. Des Moines, IA
  24. Toledo, OH
  25. Providence, RI

The rankings are based on scientific analysis of three factors for 100 metro areas. The data measured and compared each year includes:

  • Pollen scores (airborne grass/tree/weed pollen and mold spores)
  • Number of allergy medications used per patient
  • Number of allergy specialists per patient

This year's report indicates that more than fifty percent of the United States’ population lives in one of the 100 Fall Allergy Capital cities. However, Dayton, OH is ranked number one this year due to a higher-than-average pollen score, higher use of allergy medications per person, and lower-than-average access to allergy specialists, compared to other cities on the list.

About Allergies

Nearly 40 million Americans have nasal allergies and over 10 million have allergic asthma. For these millions of adults and children allergic to pollen, the next few months will push them indoors to avoid wind-swept allergens and to ultimately escape the chronic symptoms of fall allergies: runny nose and congestion, itchy and watery eyes, violent sneezing, and even coughing and wheezing for people who have allergic asthma. However, even average Americans are spending 60% or more of their time indoors and experts are increasingly cautioning everyone to pay attention to indoor air quality (IAQ), as well.

Indoor air can be worse than outdoor air. As a result, "everyone, especially those with allergies and asthma, need to pay close attention to indoor air quality," advises Dr. Clifford W. Bassett, medical director of Allergy & Asthma Care of New York and assistant clinical professor of Medicine at the NYU School of Medicine. Household triggers like mold that grows in areas with high moisture, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in wood furniture, flooring and traditional paints, or strong chemical odors from some cleaning products are common problems. "Airborne triggers and irritants can be potentially serious problems and any home, school or office can be an obstacle course if you have asthma or allergies," says Bassett. "But good air quality can be achieved through smart home solutions."

About The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America

The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, a not-for-profit organization founded in 1953, is the leading patient organization for people with asthma and allergies, and the oldest and largest asthma and allergy patient group in the world. AAFA provides practical information, community based services and support through a national network of chapters and support groups. AAFA develops health education, organizes state and national advocacy efforts and funds research to find better treatment and cures. Visit www.aafa.org to learn more.

*AAFA is solely responsible for the identification and ranking of the Fall Allergy Capitals list.

** “Pollen score” is comprised of compressive recorded levels of airborne grass/tree/weed pollen and mold spores, and prevalence data for each of these specific types of allergens.