Latest spring allergy capitals declared

By Tom Nordlie • Published: August 3rd, 2009
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

If you get wheezy and sneezy in the springtime, you should stay away from Louisville, Kentucky.

According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America’s 2009 rankings, Louisville is the worst major city for people suffering from spring seasonal allergies.

Allergies are disorders where the body overreacts to relatively harmless substances.

People with seasonal allergies are typically hypersensitive to airborne mold spores or pollen grains. These particles are released in large quantities when fungi [“FUNN-jai”] and plants reproduce.

The resulting symptoms can include itchy eyes, runny nose, constricted breathing tubes and shortness of breath.

The foundation ranks metropolitan areas twice a year for their allergy potential, based on three factors: pollen counts, the number of allergy medications used per patient, and the number of board-certified allergy specialists per patient.

Besides Louisville, this spring’s top five included Knoxville, Tennessee; Charlotte, North Carolina; Madison, Wisconsin and Wichita, Kansas.

As you may have guessed, cities in the Deep South often end up high on the list.

But they’re not alone.

Some of the top spots belonged to communities in the northeast and even a few out west.

Keep in mind, the ranking system doesn’t assess rural areas. So seasonal allergy patients aren’t necessarily better off living in the countryside.

Regardless, if you suffer from spring seasonal allergies, ask your doctor if your area is on the list.

Even if your town’s not ranked, she can offer good advice about managing your condition.

And that might ease the wheeze a little bit.