Quest Diagnostics recently analyzed 14 million test results from more than 2 million patient visits during a four-year period (2005 – 2008) and found that while sensitivity to ragweed, a common culprit of seasonal allergies, is on the rise, allergies can indeed be more problematic in some cities than others. While Quest has yet to complete a thorough analysis of this phenomenon state by state, the company says its preliminary findings show that climate change has something to do with it.
According to Quest “….the cities on top typically have dryer climates; places with warm, dry climates have longer allergy seasons. Many of the cities on the bottom of the list are coastal or tend to be wetter.”
Past studies show that cities with high levels of new construction or increased vegetation can also lead to prolonged and intense allergy seasons for its dwellers.
To determine which cities have the most allergy-afflicted residents, Quest’s testing center took the most populous metropolitan areas, as defined by the United States Office of Management and Budget, and then ranked the largest cities by their rate of allergen sensitization, or the percentage of patients who tested positive for ragweed allergies.
According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, ragweed allergies, or hay fever, are caused by weeds that grow throughout the United States that produce up to 1 billion pollen grains each year. They are more common in Eastern states and the Midwest. Hay fever is most common during the late summer months and continues almost until frost kills the plants that cause it.
Ragweed allergies are characterized by sneezing, stuffy or runny nose, itchy eyes, nose and throat and trouble sleeping. There is no direct cure for these types of allergies, but they can be controlled by avoiding contact with pollen or taking an antihistamine. You can find more information about ragweed allergies on the AAFA’s website.
|The Top Ten
Most Alergy Prone
|City||% testing ragweed positive|
|10th Most Allergy-Prone||Minneapolis and Washington, D.C.||21.7%|
|9th Most Allergy-Prone||Denver||22.3%|
|8th Most Allergy-Prone||Philadelphia||22.6%|
|7th Most Allergy-Prone||Sacramento||22.9%|
|6th Most Allergy-Prone||Chicago||23.1%|
|5th Most Allergy-Prone||Dallas||23.6%|
|4th Most Allergy-Prone||Riverside-San Bernadino, Calif.||23.9%|
|3rd Most Allergy-Prone||Kansas City, Mo.||24.1%|
|2nd Most Allergy-Prone||Las Vegas||25.7%|
|Most Allergy-Prone City||Phoenix||29.3%|