Study: Allergies more prevalent across Southeast U.S.

BALTIMORE — A study being presented this week at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology found hay fever is more prevalent in children living in the southeastern and southern states, ACAAI announced Friday.

“The study found more than 18% of children and adolescents have hay fever in the United States, with the highest frequency in the southeastern and southern regions of the country,” stated allergist Michael Foggs, ACAAI president-elect. “While the reason is unknown, it is most likely due to climate factors.”

Environmental influences, such as temperature, precipitation and UV index in the southern regions seem to be responsible for the increase in allergy sufferers. 

“According to the study, wetter regions with average humidity were associated with a decreased number of children with hay fever,” Foggs said. “The study also found areas of the south with warm temperatures and elevated UV indexes seem to harbor more hay fever sufferers.”

Hay fever, also known as allergic rhinitis, most commonly occurs in the spring and fall months, but can last year round for some of the 50 million Americans with allergies.

ACAAI warns allergens are difficult to avoid, and parents shouldn’t consider moving to help their children find allergy relief.

“An allergy sufferer may escape one allergy to ragweed for example, only to develop sensitivity to other allergens, such as grasses, in a new location,” said allergist Stanley Fineman, ACAAI past president. “Allergens, such as pollen, can be found in virtually all regions, including Hawaii, Alaska and Maine, making avoidance nearly impossible. This study shows that climate truly influences allergens which can ultimately trigger symptoms in those affected.”



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