The most miserable cities for fall allergy sufferers

By Liz Meszaros, MDLinx
Published November 12, 2018

Key Takeaways

Beware, allergists and those with fall allergies: If you reside in McAllen, TX, you are living in the fall allergy capital of the United States, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA).

Compiled annually since 2003, the AAFA’s report—10 Fall Allergy Capitals—has narrowed down the 10 most challenging cities to live in for people with fall allergies. When compiling the list, the AAFA considers pollen and mold counts, use of allergy medications, and the availability of board-certified allergists.

McAllen, TX—also the AAFA’s top Spring Allergy Capital 2018—reached first-place status due to higher-than-average pollen levels and medication use, as well as a lower saturation of board-certified allergists.

After McAllen, TX, the worst cities for fall allergies include:

  1. Louisville, KY
  2. Jackson, MS
  3. San Antonio, TX
  4. Daytona, OH
  5. Providence, RI
  6. Memphis, TN
  7. Syracuse, NY
  8. Oklahoma City, OK
  9. Toledo, OH

The 2018 Fall Allergy Capitals report also ranks cities according to the region of the country they are in. According to these rankings, Providence, RI, is No. 1 in the Northeast; McAllen, TX, is No. 1 in the South; Dayton, OH, is No. 1 in the Midwest; and Las Vegas, NV, is No. 1 in the West.

“Too often, people with seasonal allergies suffer silently while their symptoms worsen year after year,” says Neeta Ogden, MD, a medical spokesperson for the AAFA. “Allergy sufferers need to learn more about triggers and visit a specialist for a proper diagnosis and treatment. Often more can be done to relieve allergy symptoms that interfere with daily life.” 

In the U.S., allergies are the sixth leading cause of chronic illness. More than 50 million Americans have nasal allergies, which account for $18 billion in health-care costs for doctor visits, allergy medications, and other problems, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Ragweed pollen—the most common cause of fall allergy symptoms—makes an appearance in August and peaks in mid-September. Other fall culprits include pigweed, burning bush, cocklebur, sagebrush, mugwort, lamb’s quarters, tumbleweed, and Russian thistle. Mold spore levels also affect allergy  sufferers. Spore levels rise with the fallen leaves.

So, if you are an allergy specialist located in one of these top 10 fall allergy locations, be prepared for an onslaught of patients. And, if you are looking for a great location to establish or move your allergy practice, McAllen, TX, may be a good place to start.

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