Aafas 2021 Allergy Capitals Report Ranks Top Us Cities For Pollen Allergies
On Feb. 23, 2021, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America released its annual Allergy Capitals report for 2021. The report identifies the most challenging cities for spring and fall allergies in the top 100 metropolitan areas in the United States. Scranton, Pennsylvania, takes the top spot this year.
Cities are ranked based on three factors: spring and fall pollen scores, over-the-counter medicine use, and availability of board-certified allergists. Richmond, Virginia, held the #1 title in 2020.
The top 10 most challenging cities overall to live in with seasonal allergies in 2021 are:
To see the full 100-city list, go to allergycapitals.com. The report lists overall annual rankings and includes a seasonal breakdown for spring and fall.
Seasonal allergies cause seasonal allergic rhinitis. This is commonly called hay fever. If you have pollen allergies, allergy symptoms appear during the time of year when pollen starts releasing from the plants you may be allergic to such as trees, grasses, or weeds.
You may have pollen allergies if you get allergy symptoms in the early spring or during the late summer or early fall.
In some parts of the U.S., tree pollen season starts as early as January. It will continue through summer. In the fall, weed pollen especially ragweed causes symptoms. But you can find relief with the right treatment and by managing contact with pollen.
Taking Bee Pollen Can Treat Seasonal Pollen Allergies
While bee pollen contains many nutrients, it is NOT an approved treatment for allergies. The research on bee pollen in humans is still on going and as of right now, there isnt any to support the claim that it helps with allergies. In fact, there have been studies that show bee pollen can actually trigger an allergic reaction!
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Best For Pet Allergies: Claritin
Pet allergies are a type of indoor allergy, which can be tricky to manage, because it can be difficult to completely avoid them. Unlike seasonal allergies, indoor allergens can be bothersome year-round. Most often, pet allergies are treated with an oral antihistamine.
You may want to try out a few different types of oral antihistamines to see which works best for you â Claritin relies on loratadine as its active ingredient, so its a different type of oral antihistamine than the other medications weve already mentioned.
It comes in several forms, from dissolvable powder to tablets, and is available in 12- or 24-hour effectiveness. For best results, its recommended you take Claritin regularly and around the same time every day.
If you do have an allergy to pet dander, you should also keep pets out of the bedroom to reduce your exposure. There is no such thing as a hypoallergenic pet because dogs and cats produce allergen in their dander and saliva, Dr. Kalra says.
âBuy it:â âPriceâ: $36 for 90 tablets
Asthma Capitals: Full Report With Asthma Outcomes And Risk Factors
The COVID-19 pandemic impacted daily life in most of 2020. The pandemic influenced some changes in health outcomes and risk factors like pollen exposure, medicine use, and emergency room visits. In 2020, fewer people experienced pollen allergies due to COVID-19 restrictions, recommendations to stay indoors, and other preventative measures like mask wearing. As a result, use of long-term asthma medicines were also down along with fewer people heading to hospital emergency rooms for asthma.
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What About Medicines For Blood Pressure
Beta-blockers, used to control blood pressure and heart disease, can make asthma worse. This group of drugs includes propranolol, atenolol, and metoprolol. If you have started taking a beta-blocker and your asthma gets worse, tell your doctor.
ACE inhibitors are another type of medicine given to treat blood pressure, heart disease and, sometimes, diabetes. Drugs such as captopril, enalapril, and lisinopril are included in this group. These medicines appear to be safe for people who have asthma. However, some people develop a cough when taking ACE inhibitors. If you start coughing while youre taking an ACE inhibitor, remember that the cough might not be caused by your asthma. If the cough is caused by the ACE inhibitor, it will usually go away a week or so after you stop taking the medicine. If you develop other problems that make your asthma worse, call your doctor to see if you should stop taking your ACE inhibitor.
How Does The Weather Affect Symptoms
- Humid air is moist and heavy. When the air is stagnant, air quality goes down, making breathing harder for everyone. It can trigger an asthma and allergy flare-up since mold and bacteria grow better in moist environments. Humid weather can worsen allergy symptoms.
- Hot weather often impacts air quality. Ozone can rise to dangerous levels, irritating your respiratory system. Increased traffic, exhaust, smog and other pollutants can make breathing harder if you have asthma.
- Cold, dry air may seem better for your breathing than hot, humid air, but unfortunately, breathing it in can make the bronchial tubes constrict and spasm as they try to keep airways open, making symptoms worse.
- Thunderstorms bring barometric changes, high humidity and winds that blow pollen and mold spores everywhere. This can lead to a phenomenon called thunderstorm asthma. In addition, lightning generates nitrogen oxides that can impact ground-level ozone, irritating the lungs and airways.
- Changing weather patterns alter barometric pressure, which can trigger sinus problems and make breathing harder if you have asthma.
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Remember Your Basic Asthma Care
How Do I Know Whats Triggering My Asthma
Allergic asthma is brought on by specific particles called allergens. To identify which ones cause you problems, your doctor may ask you when and where you experience allergy symptoms.
An allergist can also perform skin and blood tests to determine what youre allergic to. If certain triggers are found, your doctor may recommend immunotherapy, which is a medical treatment that reduces sensitivity to allergens.
Your doctor may also recommend allergen avoidance. This means youll have to keep your home free of particles that cause allergic reactions.
You may also have to avoid going places where you have a higher chance of having an attack because of allergens in the air. For example, you may need to stay inside on days when the pollen count is high or remove carpets in your home to avoid dust.
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Parental And Personal Smoking
In utero maternal smoking and parental smoking in early life has been shown to be temporally associated with increased asthma in young children . Recent evidence from multi-generational studies suggest that grandmaternal smoking while the mother is in utero and paternal smoking during his adolescence can independently increase the risk of subsequent offspring childhood asthma. These findings suggest that tobacco smoking may cause heritable modifications of the epigenome, which increase the risk of asthma in future generations .
Smoking also seems to interact with sex. Female smokers had a higher prevalence of asthma than female non-smokers, but this difference was less frequent for males, suggesting that females may be more susceptible. Many studies have found that personal smoking predisposes an individual to increased risk of incident or new-onset asthma, although smoking-onset in adolescence, or adulthood typically occurs after early-onset asthma . As non-atopic asthma becomes increasingly common compared with atopic asthma in adults, this is most likely because this phenotype frequently coincides with a substantial history of cigarette smoking and its potential to predispose to chronic airflow limitation . Smokers with asthma form a distinct group that are more likely to have suboptimal asthma control and develop asthma-COPD overlap syndrome in later life, characterized by incompletely reversed airflow obstruction following an inhaled bronchodilator .
Question: How Do I Choose An Over
Dr. James: For many years, people used diphenhydramine as an antihistamine for their allergies. But for many reasons, this medicine is not a good choice to take for allergy symptoms because of its short-term action to manage symptoms and several known negative side effects. The major side effects of diphenhydramine include drowsiness, sedation, and fatigue. It can also impair alertness, concentration, multitasking, and memory. In turn, this antihistamine can affect important functions, such as learning and test performance in children, as well as operation of machinery and cars in adults.
Diphenhydramine and related short-acting antihistamines should be avoided.
Fortunately, there are many newer over-the-counter antihistamines available that work much better, are longer acting, and are safer than diphenhydramine. These newer antihistamines are less likely to have major clinical side effects compared to older antihistamines like diphenhydramine. Also, these newer medicines do not carry the risk of toxicity and death that has been associated with older antihistamines. Finally, regarding the use of antihistamines in pregnancy, cetirizine and loratadine are the medicines of choice.
Important note: If you are experiencing symptoms of a severe allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis, the recommended treatment is epinephrine .
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How Do I Know If Other Medicines Im Taking Are Making My Asthma Worse
Any medicine can cause wheezing or shortness of breath if youre allergic to it. If you notice that your asthma gets worse every time you take a certain medicine, tell your doctor as soon as possible. If you use a peak flow meter to check your asthma, tell your doctor if you see changes in your peak flow readings after you take a certain medicine. Your doctor can decide whether your medicine should be changed.
Medicine For Asthma And Allergies
In addition to following your treatment plan, you can try:
- Breathing exercises. These can lower the amount of medication you need to control your symptoms.
- Herbal and natural remedies. Things that may help improve asthma symptoms include:
- Black seed oil . Some studies have shown that it can help open airways.
- Caffeine. Itâs a mild bronchodilator, meaning it can open your airways, but it doesnât work as fast as medications. Avoid caffeine for several hours before any medical appointment that might include a lung function test.
- Choline. This helps your body work the way it should. You can get it in meat, liver, eggs, poultry, fish, shellfish, peanuts, and cauliflower, or from a supplement.
- Pycnogenol. You can get this pine bark extract as a supplement.
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Chronic Urticaria Is Defined When Hives Occur Most Days For More Than Six Weeks
Symptoms of chronic urticaria usually resolve, although this can take months or several years. Most people with chronic urticaria manage with appropriate doses of non-drowsy antihistamines. People with severe symptoms interfering with quality of life may be referred to a clinical immunology/allergy specialist or dermatologist for assessment and consideration of additional medications.
How Do You Decide What Treatment Is Right For Your Asthma
Patients want to have a say in their care and treatment choices. We call it . This is where your asthma specialist discusses with you the pros and cons of a specific test or treatment. You then work together to decide what is best for you. These decisions will guide the development of your Asthma Action Plan.
Studies show when patients and healthcare providers partner on decisions, it improves health outcomes. Shared Decision-Making helps improve patients knowledge of their condition. They are also more likely to follow their treatment plans and go to follow-up appointments.
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Getting The Most From Your Nasal Spray
If you take any type of nasal spray, read the manufacturers instructions carefully and follow the directions to make sure you get the most benefit.
Ask your pharmacist or doctor to explain anything you dont understand.
Our website also has videos showing how to use nasal sprays correctly.
What to do
- Follow the manufacturers instructions.
- Shake the bottle before each use.
- Clear any mucus from your nose by blowing gently, or use a saline rinse or spray then wait 10 minutes before using your medication spray.
- Lean your head forward and put the nozzle into your nostril gently, without pushing it in hard.
- Point the spray bottle away from the wall that divides your nostrils . At the same time, point it inwards towards the moist part of the inside of your nose.
- Spray once into your nostril, then repeat the steps for your other nostril.
- After using the spray, wipe the tip with a dry tissue, and put the cap back on.
- Tilt your head back while spraying
- Push the nozzle too hard or far into your nose
- Blow your nose hard after spraying
- Sniff hard after spraying
- Use a saline rinse straight after using the medicine. If you use saline, use it before your other medicines, and wait at least half an hour before using saline again.
So What Can Older Adults Safely Take For Allergy Relief
Wozniak: Newer antihistamines such as Claritin® and Allegra® tend to be safer and better tolerated. Theyre effective for symptoms such as itching, sneezing and runny nose, and they minimize those sedating side effects more so than Benadryl®.
But we want to make sure your doctor or pharmacist is helping you choose. You may need a lower starting dose or close monitoring. While these newer medications are safer, there are differences. For example, Zyrtec® can sometimes be a bit more sedating than Claritin®.
Some antihistamines are also available in prescription nasal sprays, such as Astepro® or Patanase® . These can be good options, too. The thought is that the nasal sprays typically arent absorbed as much as the oral antihistamines and may have fewer side effects.
Olopatadine comes in eye drop form as well, which can really help with itchy, watery eyes. If you prefer an over-the-counter option, theres Zaditor® .
What Conclusions Can We Draw
Obviously, this is just one study. Still, the study concluded that the incidence of hives is elevated in those diagnosed with asthma. It is not elevated in those diagnosed with hives. When asthma and hives occur in the same people, the most common link is seasonal allergies.4
The researchers also made a couple of other interesting observations. First, was that those with the most severe asthma are most likely to also have hives. Second, the most common allergen linked to both asthma and hives is the weed Parietaria Judaica. Interestingly, this weed has long been referred to as asthma weed. This is mainly because it has long been associated with seasonal allergies, such as asthma, rhinitis, and hives. Third, those with the most severe asthma are the most likely to also experience hives.4,6
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Possible Causes Of Asthma
Most people with asthma developed the condition as children. Scientists dont know the exact cause of asthma, but they think there may be a connection to infections or contact with allergens in early life.
Usually, a family history of asthma or allergies increases the risk. There is no cure, but people living with asthma typically use a combination of lifestyle modifications and medications to reduce exposure to or the consequences of asthma triggers.
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How Do I Use A Valved Holding Chamber
Other Things You Can Do
Saline rinses: Your doctor may recommend that you use a salt water solution daily to help clear your nose and soothe the lining of the nose. Syringes and rinse bottles are available from pharmacies.
Avoid smoke: People with allergic rhinitis should not smoke and should avoid other peoples cigarette smoke. Smoking makes asthma and rhinitis worse, and can prevent medicines from working properly. Bushfires and wood smoke may also worsen allergic rhinitis and asthma.
Avoid allergens: Your doctor can help you work out which allergens trigger your allergic rhinitis and asthma. Try to avoid your allergy triggers if you can. See Avoiding allergens for tips.
If medication does not clear a badly blocked nose, doctors may occasionally recommend a surgical operation called turbinate reduction. Surgery is not a cure for rhinitis, but may help with symptoms in severe cases.
Before taking any medication for allergic rhinitis, you should tell your doctor or pharmacist if:
- you have any other medical conditions or are pregnant
- you are taking any other medicines
- you have been experiencing nose bleeds.
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