"In recent years, we've frequently been high on the list," said Dr. Teresa Sue Bratton, an allergist and director of the asthma clinic at Guilford Child Health in Greensboro, "but this year we bow to Charlotte," referring to the third-place ranking of the other North Carolina city.
"We have lots of warmth, rain and humidity, and a fairly long growing season that produces wind pollinated plants," Bratton said.
The city also has a great deal of mold, which forms when plant matter breaks down, due to lots of humidity, she explained.
These conditions make for "a steady supply of people every spring who have allergy symptoms," Bratton said.
Asked how her patients in Greensboro might react to their city's place on the allergy ranking, Bratton replied, "They don't see much difference between a number two or number seven.
"If you're the person who is miserable, I don't think you care. You just want some relief," she said.
"We also have people who are going to be suffering more with their allergies this year because of the economy," Bratton noted.
The good news, though, is that a growing number of allergy products are available over the counter or generically, which makes them more economical.
Although you can't control the quantity of pollen released in the city where you live, you can control your allergies and their symptoms.
"One of the reasons we do this report is to draw people into the health care system to get the care they need for their allergies," Tringale said.
The ranking is not intended to inspire people to move to New Haven, Conn., which placed 100th on the 2009 list, Tringale said.
"There's really no place free of allergy triggers," he said.
But the message Tringale hoped the listings help to get across is "Don't move, but improve."
In other words, improve your understanding of your allergies by getting a proper diagnosis for them so you don't confuse their symptoms with a cold, follow the right course of treatment and reduce your exposure to your triggers as much as possible.
Seasonal allergies themselves are not life threatening, but they do threaten quality of life, Tringale said.
View the complete list provided by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.
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