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No Place Safe From Allergies

Most can be controlled, but you need to know what triggers them, experts say

FRIDAY, Sept. 5, 2008 (HealthDay News) -- If you are one of the 36 million Americans who suffer from seasonal allergies, there is nowhere in the United States that is free from pollen and other allergens this fall, a new report shows.

Allergies don't only happen in the spring, they can be bothersome in other seasons as well. In the fall, the most challenging cities to live in are Greensboro, N.C., Greenville, S.C., Little Rock, Ark., Raleigh-Durham, N.C., and Jackson, Miss., according to the report from the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

"We started doing this report to find places where people with allergies could go," said foundation spokeswoman Angel Waldron. "The answer is, there is nowhere you can go."

A low pollen area in one part of the country may mean a higher mold count, Waldron said. "It's not until you go to a new place that you find out that other allergens are just as troublesome," she said.

Waldron noted that even though the top cities for allergens are in the South, there have been major fluctuations over the six years the foundation has been producing its annual reports.

In the report, the foundation rates 100 cities in terms of allergy risk factors. Among the top 25 are Greensboro, N.C., Knoxville, Tenn., Tulsa, Okla., Augusta, Ga., Memphis, Tenn., Greenville, S.C., Grand Rapids, Mich., Chattanooga, Tenn., Louisville, Ky., Des Moines, Iowa, Little Rock, Ark., Wichita, Kan., Birmingham, Ala., San Antonio, Scranton, Pa.; Raleigh-Durham, N.C., Oklahoma City, Okla., New Orleans, Columbia, S.C., St. Louis, Jackson, Miss., Madison, Wisc., Harrisburg, Pa., Charlotte, N.C., and Bridgeport, Conn.

"There is no cure for allergens. There is nowhere you're going to be able to move to completely escape them," Waldron said. "However, with allergy testing and proper management, you can live a comfortable life without limits wherever you go."

The important thing is to find out what triggers your allergies, Waldron said. Allergies can be exacerbated by things encountered outside such as pollen, but there are also indoor triggers such as pet dander and dust mites.

The report was paid for by McNEIL-PPC Inc., maker of the allergy drug Zyrtec.

More information

For more about allergies, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

SOURCES: Angel Waldron, spokeswoman, Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America; Sept. 8, 2008, 2008 Fall Allergy Capitals
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