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The 20 Worst Cities for Allergies in the U.S.

Allergy sufferers definitely notice the difference in their symptoms from one location to another. While you may be comfortable and healthy living in one city, traveling to a new location can bring on a runny nose and eyes, and a host of other allergy symptoms. For some, the reactions are mild, and for others, life can become miserable. Location is an important consideration when spring, summer or fall allergies are an issue, and according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, some cities are far worse than others. They've even compiled a list of the 100 worst cities for allergy sufferers. While this agency has been busy pointing out the worst locations, other entities have weighed in and we've reviewed recommendations from for studies on the topic to put together a list of the 20 worst cities in American for allergies. We've ranked them in accordance with the number of allergy-causing particles in the air from 20 to 1. Bear in mind that the average percentage of pollen particles in the air is 55.87%. These go far beyond.

20. Knoxville, Tennessee - 68.01

Knoxville is the twentieth worst city to live in if you have allergies to pollen. While the average percentage of allergens in the air, along with the number of board-certified allergy specialists is average, what really stands out in an examination of the situation is the use of medications to treat allergies. Statistics on the total usage of allergy relieving medications is high per person. This indicates that the air quality in Knoxville is such that those who experience allergies are using higher amounts of medicine for symptom relief. On the bright side, Knoxville dropped down to number 20 on the list for 2019, which is good news because it was number 10 for 2018.

19. Columbia, SC - 68.57

Columbia, South Carolina maintains the same positioning in the list from 2018. Like Knoxville, Tennessee, this city also has an average number of allergy specialists, with a slightly higher level of pollens in the air on average, but there is a higher usage of allergy treatments for residents of the city. It's a little worse than Knoxville, but at least it's not rising on the list, barely making it at number 20. It's not the worst place to live if you have allergies, but it's certainly one of them.

18. Oklahoma City, OK- 68.64

Oklahoma City has dropped from the ninth-worst city to live in if you have allergies, in 2018, to the 18th. While this is great progress, it's still a place where you're likely to experience an increase in symptoms. While the number of allergy specialists in the city is average, the pollen count is a little higher than the other two cities we've discussed. Medication use is about average, but the higher pollen levels illicit a concern for sensitive individuals.

17. El Paso, TX - 68.83

El Paso is another city that has dropped in ranking on our list. In 2018, it was the 13th worst city for allergies, and for 2019 it is the 17th, but there are still concerns that the air can trigger allergic responses. The pollen count is high at 69.83, and the use of allergy relieving medications per person is also much higher than average.

16. Buffalo, New York - 69.55

Buffalo shares some of the same characteristics as El Paso, Texas when it comes to air quality. Both cities are larger metro areas and there is an ample amount of air pollution from industry and high numbers of vehicles on the road. In Buffalo, the pollen count is yet higher, and the air quality problem is growing much worse with the passage of time. This city has risen from the 23rd worst place to be for allergies in 2018 to number 16, which is cause for concern for sensitive people.

15. Little Rock, AR - 70.27

Little Rock is yet another city that has risen in danger on our list of the worst cities for allergies. In 2018, it was ranked as the seventeenth-worst and in 2019, it's the fifteenth. The pollen count can be extremely high and this is a good reason for people with allergy sensitivities to either avoid the area or stock up on medication prior to visiting. One of the biggest indicators of a definite problem in the city, on top of the high pollen count, is the high amount of allergy relieving medication usage.

14. San Antonio, TX - 70.32

San Antonio, Texas made the list coming in at number 14. This is an improvement over the ratings it received for 2018 as the fifth-worst place to live with allergies. The area is still not good for allergy sufferers with a 70.32 level when it comes to the air quality. There is an average number of allergy professionals and the medication usage rates are about average, but the pollen level can trigger a serious episode of allergy symptoms if air quality is one of your triggers.

13. Dayton, OH - 70.70

Dayton is the second-worst cities for allergy sufferers in the entire state of Ohio. It ranks as the 13th worst for 2019, but that's an improvement over its former place on the list of number 7 in 2018. Allergy medication use is extremely high in Dayton due to the high pollen scores, but the city maintains an average number of allergists.

12. Syracuse, NY - 71.28

Syracuse has dropped from the 8th worst city for allergies in the United States to number 12 since 2018. Like Dayton, there is a high amount of pollen in the air on average throughout the year, and the use of symptom-relieving medications is extremely high. This isn't a city that you'll want to spend much time in if pollen makes you miserable. If you're moving to this area then it's best to prepare and find a qualified medical professional to recommend the best course of treatment for you.

11. Toledo, OH - 71.82

Toledo's average pollen count surpasses that of Syracuse and its neighboring city of Dayton. It is the absolute worst city in the state of Ohio for allergy sufferers, and from the statistics gathered, it looks like the air quality is declining for allergy sufferers. Toledo was fourteenth on the 2018 list of worst city for allergies and in 2019, it has risen to the 11th. In addition to a high pollen count, there is a high allergy medication use for sufferers, which shows that surviving allergy season depends on treating the symptoms for those who live there.

10. Richmond, Virginia - 72.45

Richmond moved up from being the 16th worst city for allergies in 2018 to number 10. It's worse for allergy sufferers this year than it was for the previous season. This is a large city that has an average number of allergists per patient and the people taking allergy medications is about average. When we look at the high pollen count and compare it with the amount of medication usage, we can deduct that people who suffer from allergies tend to choose other places to live to avoid misery.

9. Baton Rouge, Louisiana - 72.67

With a yet higher pollen count, Baton Rouge is the 9th worst city in the US for allergies. This is a little worse than it was for the previous year when it was number 12 on the list. Although the number of allergists per patient is average, there are more people taking allergy medication in the city. This city ranks among the top ten to avoid if you have issues with pollen.

8. Scranton, Pennsylvania - 73.04

Scranton must be growing some new plant varieties because, in 2018, the city was only 47 on the list of the worst 100 cities for allergies. It's climbed to the position of the 8th worst for 2019. While the statistics on people taking allergy medication remains average, the ratio of allergists per patients is worse than the national average. With a high pollen count of 73.04, we can imagine that allergists are keeping busy, especially during the peak production of pollen in the spring and summer months.

7. New Orleans, Louisiana - 73.56

If you thought to live in Baton Rouge was rough for people with allergies, then New Orleans would really make you miserable. The pollen in the air is almost a full point higher. It was rated as the fifteenth-worst city for allergies in 2018, and a year later, it's jumped forward on the list to number 7. While the ratio of allergists per patient is average, the number of people taking allergy medications is worse than average and we're all but sure that this is because of the higher amount of allergens in the air.

6. Louisville, Kentucky - 78.67

Louisville is the sixth worst place to live in the country if you have allergies, but it's not as bad as it was last year when it was ranked as the second-worst city. Statistics show that there is an average ratio of allergists per patient in the area but the number of people taking allergy medications and the amounts that they're taking is far worse than average. When we look at the pollen count in the air, it's no small wonder.

5. Springfield, Massachusetts - 78.76

Springfield kicks off the list of the top five worst cities in America for allergies. The city has moved up one place from its 2018 position as the 6th worst city. There are more people taking allergy medications than average in this city and the ratio of allergists per patient is a lot higher as well. This tells us that there are a lot of people going to see a doctor who specializes in the treatment of allergies, and it's due to the high pollen count in the air, so this might be a place that you will want to avoid during the peak pollen season.

4. Memphis, Tennessee - 78.92

Memphis gets a high score for air pollution and allergens in the air. In 2018, it was rated as the 11th worst city in the nation for people with allergies. The current figures show that there is an average ratio of allergists per patient but the number of people who are taking medications to treat allergy symptoms is far above the average. From the information we've gathered, if you have to choose between Knoxville and Memphis, and you suffer from allergies, Knoxville is the better option, at least for 2019.

3. Providence, Rhode Island - 80.48

Providence is scored at 80.48 on our ratings for the worst cities to live in if you have allergies When the air pollution in the city is combined with all of the pollens produced by blooming plants, it's hard to get by if you're terribly sensitive to air quality. The city was 6th worst in 2018 and it's the third-worst in 2019. The air quality is the third-worst in the nation, there is a higher number of people on allergy medications and there is a higher ratio of allergy specialists per patient in the city.

2. Jackson, Mississippi - 84.74

Jackson has been given a score of 84.74 for being the worst city for allergies in 2019. It climbed just one position higher after a number 3 spot for 2018. Although the ratio of allergists per patient is better than average, there are a lot more people taking allergy medications.

1. McAllen, Texas - 100

The air isn't completely saturated with pollen, but McAllen gets a 100 score on our list of cities with the worst air quality for people with allergies. It's a combination of pollens and iar pollution that makes the air quality so dangerous for allergy sufferers. The ratio of allergists per patient is a lot worse than average, and so is the statistic for people taking allergy medicine. It's currently ranked as the worst city in the entire south and the number one worst city in the nation for allergies.

Dana Hanson

Written by Dana Hanson

Dana has extensive professional writing experience including technical and report writing, informational articles, persuasive articles, contrast and comparison, grant applications, and advertisement. She also enjoys creative writing, content writing on nearly any topic (particularly business and lifestyle), because as a lifelong learner, she loves to do research and possess a high skill level in this area. Her academic degrees include AA social Sci/BA English/MEd Adult Ed & Community & Human Resource Development and ABD in PhD studies in Indust & Org Psychology.

Read more posts by Dana Hanson

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