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Most Allergenic U.S. Cities and How to Deal with Them


Some people are allergic not to any particular food and other man-made things, but to naturally-occurring substances such as mold, pollen, and grass during certain times of the year. This condition is often referred to as Seasonal Allergy or Allergic Rhinitis. Common symptoms include sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes, itchy eyes, and mucus in the throat. The symptoms develop only during part of the years for examples spring, summer, fall, or anytime grasses and trees pollinate. Some plant species pollinate at different times; elm, oak, and maple pollinate in the spring, while grasses and orchard pollinate in the summer.

City Smog

Common Allergens

 The usual suspect in seasonal allergy case is pollen. It is a powder released by grasses, trees, and weeds to fertilize seeds of neighboring plants. Pollination happens when microscopic particles in the powder are carried by the wind all over the place and eventually fall to their destination, the female stigma of plants. This process relies on the wind, and therefore there is a big chance that those microscopic particles also land on people’s mouths and noses. The pollen that sits on colored flowers is rarely responsible for seasonal allergy because it is heavy and falls to the ground instead of getting blown away in the air. Some insects including bees also help with pollination process but these animals carry the pollens from one plant to another so there is no human interaction involved in that.

 Seasonal allergy and grass allergy develop the same symptoms, although they are actually different conditions. Runny nose and sneezing are common in both of them; the only difference is that grass allergy sometimes causes tickling sensation in the back of the throat or roof of the mouth. On the other hand, people with mold allergy only develop symptoms when there is contact with seeds from mold. Dead leaves and rotting logs are ideal places where mold thrive, especially during rainy or moist conditions.

Most Allergenic Cities Ranking

Jackson MS

 As part of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), the Spring Allergy Capitals Ranking is an annual research to help people recognize many places in the US with the highest possibility of seasonal allergy case. Visitors will be able to prevent symptoms, while residents as well as allergists and healthcare facilities can prepare safe treatments for patients.

Here are 10 Most Allergenic U.S. Cities based on the latest research.


2016 National

Spring Rankings



Total Score (Avg. 62.53) Pollen Score Medicine Utilization per Patient Board Certified Allergists per Patient Overall
1 Jackson, MS 100 ˜W ˜W B™
2 Memphis, TN 94.74 ˜W ˜W A
3 Syracuse, NY 87.97 ˜W A A
4 Louisville, KY 87.88 A A
5 McAllen, TX 87.31 ˜W ˜W
6 Wichita, KS 86.82 A A
7 Oklahoma City, OK 83.61 ˜W ˜W A
8 Providence, RI 81.54 A ˜W
9 Knoxville, TN 81.32 A ˜W A
10 Buffalo, NY 79.31 ˜W ˜W A

Symbols used:

  • Worse than Average : ˜W
  • Average : A
  • Better than Average : ™B

The ranking is determined based on three major factors including:

  • Pollen Score: the average is 300 grains per cubic meter air
  • Medicine Utilization per Patient: the average is 0.98 medicine per estimated patient
  • Board Certified Allergist per Patient: the average is 0.91 per 10,000 estimated patients

Each factor contributes to the overall score and rank of every city. Jackson, Mississippi sits on the top of the list due to highest average pollen and medicine used, despite the fact that it is the only city where the availability of board certified allergists surpasses expectation.

A few photos while we were at the train depot hanging out. Used my D700 freehand with some aperture editing.


Apart from pollen, there are other airborne allergens for examples dust mites and animal hair. However, every house has different level of airborne allergens, and it all depends on cleanliness and air circulation. Pollens and molds are naturally existing substances, regardless of how clean the aforementioned cities are and therefore they are valid variables.

When it comes to airborne pollutants, all of us are exposed to them. The effects to individuals are different depending upon the amount of pollutants and immune system. Some people may develop severe allergic reactions and toxic, while others do not develop any medical condition at all. It does not matter if you live in the aforementioned cities or anywhere else, everyone reacts differently to allergens. If you develop symptoms, consult healthcare practitioners to figure out the culprit of your allergies and determine the best possible treatments.

Minimize Risk of Allergic Reactions

 It is indeed difficult to completely avoid airborne pollutants and allergens when you constantly stay at home, but there are many things you can do to minimize the risk as follows:

  • Do not go outside on windy days. The best time to do outdoor activities is after good rain, which helps to remove pollens from air. It can be difficult if your job requires you to be an active person.
  • Do not hang laundry outside. Airborne pollutants can stick to clothes and towels. It is also important to change clothes you’ve worn outside. Take a shower to remove pollutants from your body as well.
  • If you have allergies, delegate outside chores such as lawn mowing or gardening. If you have to do them, use pollen mask.
  • Turn on the air conditioning in house and car.
  • Humidifier is necessary to keep indoor air dry.
  • Use portable air filter in your room, preferably one with HEPA filter.
  • Only use vacuum cleaner that has HEPA filter.