Worst Cities for Spring Allergies: Southeast Hardest Hit

As spring blossoms, so do allergies, especially in Southeastern cities.

This year, spring allergies have been worst in Lexington, Ky., according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America's annual ranking.

Here is the AAFA's list of the 10 worst U.S. cities for spring allergies:

1. Lexington, Ky. (last year: 16)

2. Little Rock, Ark. (last year: 8)

3. Chattanooga, Tenn. (last year: 14)

4. Louisville, Ky.(last year: 3)

5. Johnson City, Tenn. (last year: 26)

6. Greenville, S.C. (last year: 19)

7. Richmond, Va. (last year: 63)

8. Charlotte, N.C. (last year: 4)

9. Jackson, Miss. (last year: 12)

10. St. Louis (last year: 5)

Rankings are based on annual pollen scores, allergy medicine use per patient, and the number of board-certified allergists per patient, says the AAFA.

Ground Zero: Southeastern U.S.

There were no big, new trends in the rankings, says AAFA spokeswoman Angel Waldron. The leading cities for spring allergies are still mostly in the southeastern U.S., she tells WebMD.

Atlanta, the top-ranked spring allergy city in 2004, fell to 20th place, says the AAFA. The complete list can be found at the end of this story.

Tips for Avoiding Allergy Trouble

Plagued by pollen? The AAFA offers this advice:

—Stay inside during peak pollen times, usually between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

—Keep your car windows closed when traveling.

—Stay indoors when humidity is high and on days with high wind, when dust and pollen are more likely to be in the air.

—Wear a face mask when outside to limit pollen inhalation.

—Shower after spending time outside to wash away pollen that collects on your skin and hair.

By Miranda Hitti, reviewed by Michael W. Smith, MD

SOURCES: Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, "The 2005 Spring Allergy Capital Ranking." Angel Waldron, spokeswoman, Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, "Allergy Overview: Prevention."