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Fall allergy capitals

Autumn is ragweed pollen’s prime season but some places have more of the stuff and other allergy triggers. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) recently released its annual “Allergy Capitals” report which identifies the 100 most challenging places to live with fall allergies.

Fall is often the worst allergy season for many people. The AAFA has identified several factors that could make this fall allergy season even more difficult.

•Ragweed season could last as much as a month or longer this year due to rising temperatures and carbon dioxide levels.

•Weeds tend to produce more pollen in the fall. Areas with lots of construction tend to have more weeds than established landscaping and gardens.

•An above-average hurricane season predicted in the East and tornadoes in the Midwest are expected to produce high winds which can cause increases in pollen distribution.

•Previous storms, including Superstorm Sandy, left behind conditions for outdoor mold which continues to grow and could be spread further by fall weather and wind patterns.

The “Allergy Capital” rankings are based on a scientific analysis of three factors:

•Higher pollen counts (airborne grass/tree/weed pollen and mold spores)
•Higher use of allergy medication, both prescription and over-the-counter
•Lower number of allergy specialists working in the city

Here are the worst 15 cities for fall allergies:
1. Wichita, Kan.
2. Jackson, Miss.
3. Knoxville, Tenn.
4. Louisville, Ky.
5. Memphis, Tenn.
6. McAllen, Texas
7. Baton Rouge, La.
8. Dayton, Ohio
9. Chattanooga, Tenn.
10. Oklahoma City, Okla.
11. New Orleans
12. Madison, Wis.
13. Omaha, Neb.
14. Little Rock, Ark.
15. Tulsa, Okla.

Fall allergy symptoms are often confused with cold symptoms. Here are ways to tell the difference:

•Your symptoms have lasted more than two weeks.

•Your eyes, nose and throat are itchy. Itchiness usually means allergies.

•You have asthma which makes you likely to have allergies.

About 10 percent of the population has an allergy to weeds, tree or mold. This percentage continues to grow. For a complete listing of the top 100 allergy cities for spring, visit allergycapitals.com.

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