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Facing the Facts: North Carolina ranks high among worst states for allergy

Ashley Feibish / News Editor

The weather outside is warm. The grass is green and the flowers are blooming. Everything is covered with a thin film of yellow pollen.

Each spring, students at Elon, as well as people all over the state, deal with runny noses and itchy, watery eyes.

According to a recent report conducted by Allergy Capitals, a part of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), Charlotte, ranks at No. 4, Greensboro–Winston-Salem–High Point at No. 25 and Raleigh–Durham–Chapel Hill ranks at No. 31 as cities with the most severe allergies. Atlanta comes in at No. 1 for the city with the most severe allergy conditions.

When ranking the cities, the AAFA said it considers the city’s pollen levels, use of allergy medications and the ratio of certified allergists to residents.

Allergies affect more than 35 million people in the United States, according to the Medical News Today Web site.

The reason for the increase of allergies during spring time is due to the pollination of trees, including oaks, according to the Web site,

Allergies have also been bad this season because of the oak pollen, said Kitty Parrish, director of health services.

To keep allergy symptoms at a minimum, Parrish recommends “Keep the air conditioners on and the windows closed. Try over-the-counter allergy medications and stay indoors.”

The AAFA also recommends keeping car windows closed while driving and vacuuming at least once a week.

Hay fever, or allergic rhinitis, is the most common allergy associated primarily with pollen, according to the Allergy be Gone

Web site.

Pollen tends to be windborn, but can also invade homes through open doors and windows, triggering allergies.

To avoid pollen allergies, remain indoors during times when pollen levels are the highest, especially in the morning and late afternoon. Sunny or windy days can also be triggers for allergies.

Other ways to avoid pollen allergies include showering before bed and using a clothes dryer instead of hanging the wash outdoors. Air conditioners or filtering devices are also helpful in keeping pollen allergies

at a minimum.

It is also important to avoid other irritants such as dust, insect sprays, tobacco smoke, air pollution and fresh paint, according to

Allergy be Gone.

For more information on allergies, look on the web:

Top 25 Worst Cities for Allergy

1) Atlanta

2) Augusta, Ga. and Aiken, S.C.

3) Louisville, Ky.

4) Charlotte

5) St. Louis

6) Austin/San Marcos, Texas

7) Springfield, Mass.

8) Little Rock, Ark.

9) Knoxville, Tenn.

10) Allentown, Pa.

11) Orlando, Fla.

12) Jackson, Miss.

13) Tulsa, Okla.

14) Chattanooga, Tenn.

15) Nashville, Tenn.

16) Lexington, Ky.

17) Columbia, S.C.

18) Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas

19) Spartanburg, S.C.

20) Houston

21) San Antonio

22) Jacksonville, Fla.

23) Philadelphia

24) McAllen, Texas

25) Greensboro/High Point

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