Got Allergies? Don’t Live Here

There’s the old saying that you can be happy anywhere, but if you suffer from allergies, that may be easier said than done. Every year, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America ranks cities that are the most challenging for allergy sufferers to live in.

Cities Not Recommended for Allergy Sufferers

(Freeimages / Ulrik De Wachter)


The cities are stratified according to the following criteria:

  • Pollen counts (grass/tree/weed pollen and mold spores)
  • Amount of allergy medication used by the city’s allergy patients
  • Number of allergy doctors per allergy patient

The foundation releases rankings for both fall and spring.

Here are the top five 2016 fall rankings:

  • Jackson, Mississippi
  • Memphis, Tennessee
  • McAllen, Texas
  • Louisville, Kentucky
  • Syracuse, New York

The top five for spring of 2016 were the same—just in a different order:

  • Jackson, Mississippi
  • Memphis, Tennessee
  • Syracuse, New York
    Louisville, Kentucky
  • McAllen, Texas

Of course, even if you stay out of these cities, you may still be affected by allergies. Even some areas, including the hot, arid Southwest, are not the allergy havens they used to be. As the population in these regions has grown, people have brought many allergenic plants with them, heightening the amount of pollen in the air. Ragweed, the worst fall allergen of all, affects most of the country, and the time frame in which it blooms has been getting longer in recent years. Even if ragweed isn’t present in certain areas, its pollens can be carried for hundreds of miles on the wind.

If your environment is making you miserable, consider allergy immunotherapy, which can desensitize your body to the allergens around you. The therapy essentially trains your body to ignore the pollens that surround you, no matter how bad they are. The treatment is available through allergy shots or under-the-tongue allergy drops (known as sublingual immunotherapy drops). Talk to your physician about getting an allergy test and starting on an allergy treatment program.

About The Author

Stuart H. Agren, M.D.

Stuart H. Agren, M.D. completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Utah and went on to earn his Doctor of Medicine from Tulane University School of Medicine in 1974. He completed additional training at L.D.S. Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah and then established his private medical practice starting in 1975. Dr. Agren completed a mini-residency in Industrial Medicine at the Robert Johnson School of Medicine at Rutgers University and also completed training to become a certified Medical Review Officer.

Dr. Agren was the Medical Director at TRW and McDonnell Douglas in Mesa, Arizona and at Stauffer Chemical and Kennecott Copper in Salt Lake City, Utah. He also served as an adjunct faculty member at Arizona State University.

In his private medical practice, Dr. Agren specialized in family practice and allergy. In his work as a private practice allergist, he was one of the first doctors in the country to prescribe sublingual immunotherapy to his patients as an alternative to subcutaneous immunotherapy (allergy shots). He has also been a trailblazer in the field of food allergy treatment and research, developing a program to treat multiple food allergies simultaneously using sublingual immunotherapy. Dr. Agren has been featured on local CBS, NBC, and ABC news affiliates and won the peer-nominated “Top Doc” award from Phoenix Magazine.

After 20 years in private practice, Dr. Agren became the Founder and President of AllergyEasy, which helps primary care physicians around the country offer allergy testing and sublingual immunotherapy treatment to their patients. Over 200 physicians in over 32 states use the AllergyEasy program to help their patients overcome environmental and food allergies and asthma.