AAFA: Allergy sufferers in for long, severe season

LANDOVER, Md. — Extreme weather patterns may contribute to a severe and long allergy season this spring, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. The AAFA projects an increased potential for severe and prolonged allergy symptoms as spring arrives early, and as many regions of the country recover from severe storms and flooding.

"Severe weather patterns can bring higher temperatures, higher pollen levels and increased exposure to outdoor mold, resulting in spring allergies that can peak stronger and last longer," stated Bill Berger of the Allergy and Asthma Associates of Southern California. "Too often, people with seasonal allergies suffer silently while their symptoms worsen year after year."

Residents across the United States can expect more severe allergy conditions this year as an unusually wet winter and early warm temperatures lead to earlier tree pollination and higher levels of pollen and outdoor mold. Northern cities predicted to face a more challenging spring allergy season compared to one year ago include: Buffalo, N.Y., Springfield, Mass., Richmond, Va., Detroit and Toledo, Ohio. 

"The severe allergy conditions expected in many cities across the country means more challenges for patients, and a need for powerful and effective treatment options for them to help manage their condition," noted Mike Tringale, VP external affairs at AAFA.

AAFA's ranking of the "2013 Spring Allergy Capitals" found that nasal allergies are a problem nationwide, but especially in southern states. Overall, 15 of the top 25 cities on this year's ranking are in the South. These findings are consistent with research showing that spring now arrives 10 to 14 days earlier than it did just 20 years ago, bringing with it increased pollen counts.   

Recent hurricanes, severe storms and tornadoes also can affect the severity of spring allergies. The increased presence of mold in areas damaged by floods can trigger allergic reactions. Major urban areas and locations with significant construction also may see an increased risk for severe allergies, because pollen from weeds proliferates in places with development projects. Finally, ground-level ozone pollution can affect allergy symptoms.

For 2013, Jackson, Miss., claimed the top spot on AAFA's Spring Allergy Capitals ranking, followed by Knoxville, Tenn. and Chattanooga, Tenn. Of note, three major cities, Philadelphia, New Orleans and Dallas each climbed slightly higher in the top 25 compared with last year. 

An interactive map of 100 cities, resources about diagnosis, prevention and treatment options, resources for physicians and more information on the study methodology are available at AllergyCapitals.com.

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