TAMPA, Fla. — Allergies. Millions of us have them and suffer through sneezing, itchy, watery eyes, and stuffy and/or runny noses. If you're living here in the Tampa Bay area, three cities, in particular, are considered especially bad for allergy sufferers, according to a new report.
Every year, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) releases a report that maps out the Top 20 cities with worse-than-average allergies, known as "Allergy Capitals."
Out of the 100 largest cities in the continental U.S., the list looks at these factors — tree, grass and weed pollen scores, over-the-counter allergy medicine use, and availability of board-certified allergists/immunologists — and ranks "how challenging" it is to live with pollen allergies.
Three Tampa Bay-area cities made that Top 20 list — Sarasota, Lakeland and Tampa. Cape Coral, Orlando, Miami and Palm Bay are other Florida cities that cracked the top of the list.
The No. 1 Allergy Capital in the contiguous U.S.? That would be Witchita, Kansas. AAFA says Witchita reached the highest spot because it had worse-than-average rankings for pollen levels, the number of people who use allergy medications and the lack of available allergists.
AAFA says various types of allergies affect more than 100 million Americans every year, and allergies are one of the most common medical conditions affecting people in the U.S.
Of those allergies, one of the most common conditions is seasonal allergic rhinitis, aka "hay fever." That's what usually causes sneezing, stuffy nose from congestion, runny nose, red and watery eyes, itchy nose, eyes, ears or mouth, and swelling around the eyes.
While allergies aren't curable, they can be made more manageable. AAFA offers some tips on how to manage your contact with pollen and what medications could be helpful to manage your symptoms. You can find the full list of tips and medications, along with more information on the study, by clicking here.