Whether you get stuffed up from mold, watery eyes from pollen, or struggle with asthma, allergy season can be a real pain, especially if yours are severe. Wouldn’t it be nice to live somewhere where your allergies could catch a break? Well, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) has recently released their report on the best U.S. cities for allergy sufferers and its top choices have one important thing in common.
If the sniffles are slowing you down, head for the mountains! Here are the top 20 best places for allergy sufferers, with mountainous Colorado, Utah, and Idaho cities dominating the top of the list:
1. Denver, CO
2. Provo, UT
3. Boise, ID
4. Portland, OR
6. Ogden, UT
7. Seattle, WA
9. Raleigh, NC
10. Spokane, WA
11. San Jose, CA
12. San Diego, CA
13. San Francisco, CA
14. Sarasota, FL
15. Daytona Beach, FL
16. Sacramento, CA
17. Palm Bay, FL
18. Washington, DC
19. Boston, MA
20. Milwaukee, WI
The AAFA data shows that 15 of the top 20 best places to live with allergies are located in the Midwest, Southwest, Pacific Northwest, or on the West Coast. The further west you go, the more allergy-friendly cities you find, with Florida being the main exception to this rule. Living in Boston and Washington, DC in the Northeast is also recommended if you want to keep allergies in check. In fact, Florida and North Carolina are the only two Southeastern states that make the top 20 for best places to live for allergies, while cities from the South Central region (Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Kansas) are not good choices for allergy sufferers.
In short, going further north seems to be a good way to find more allergy-free cities. Northern cities tend to have colder seasons and thus less exposure to seasonal allergy triggers, which are usually worse in the warmer months. Living on the coast also seems to help with allergies. This explains how many of the Florida and California cities made the list despite average pollen counts and almost year-round warm weather.
Best States for Allergies
Most people don’t spend all of their time confined to just one city, so the AAFA city data comes in handy when determining the most allergy-friendly states as well. These are:
With all three of its biggest cities falling in the top 10, Utah earns the title of best state for allergies. However, it’s essentially tied with Colorado, which has two cities in the top 5. Washington is another low-pollen state, with two cities in the top 10, both with better than average pollen counts. All in all, mountainous areas tend to be ideal for those of us most sensitive to airborne allergens.
Fourth and fifth on the list are California and Florida, each with three cities in the top 20, proving that the salty air can do wonders for a stuffy nose. Additionally, both states have cities that sit around the middle of the pack in AAFA’s allergy comparison by city, like Fresno and Riverside, CA, and Cape Coral and Jacksonville, FL.
What Determines the Best Places to Live with Allergies?
The AAFA methodology to determine the best places to live if you have allergies looks at pollen count and allergy medication sold as the main factors.
The first factor is what the AAFA calls the “seasonal pollen score”. This includes total pollen counts, how common allergies are for each pollen type, and a few other factors.
The next factor is the amount of allergy medication, both prescription and over-the-counter, sold per patient. The more people that use them, the worse the city scored. The number of allergy specialists per capita is another factor. Keep in mind that these criteria aren’t weighted equally. The pollen score and medication used tend to be the most important factors for determining the AAFA rankings.
The top 9 cities scored better than average on pollen and on medication used, but all of them had only an average or below average number of allergists. Throughout the rest of the top 20, most cities had only average pollen scores but used less than average amounts of allergy medicine, possibly because of their climate.
Tips for Dealing with Allergies
Of course, you can’t avoid allergens entirely, and most of us can’t just pack up and move to Utah or Colorado. Fortunately, the AAFA also shared some helpful tips for dealing with allergies.
- Spend less time outdoors
- Close the windows in your home and use central, filtered air conditioning
- Wear sunglasses and a hat when outdoors, especially if doing yard work
- Change your clothes after you come back inside
- Wash your clothes and linens regularly
- Shower and wash your hair before bed
- Take off your shoes before going inside
- Limit exposure to outdoor pets
- Use immunotherapy and/or allergy medicine (over-the-counter or prescription) to prevent or alleviate symptoms
Even if your home isn’t located in the best place to live for allergies, these tips can be useful to anyone, anywhere, to help you get through allergy season with less sneezing and eye rubbing.
Meanwhile, if you’re on the lookout for a friendlier place for you and your allergies, browse thousands of verified rental listings on RENTCafé and live happier and healthier right now!