In news that will no doubt feel like a slap in the face akin to a bad case of cedar fever, Austin has dropped further in the rankings on a new list of the country’s worst places for allergy sufferers.
The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America’s 2022 Allergy Capitals report ranks the most challenging cities in the U.S. to live with seasonal pollen allergies, and this year, Austin lands in the No. 67 spot, down from last year’s ranking as No. 61.
The group bases its rankings on three factors:
- Higher-than-average spring pollen.
- Higher-than-average fall pollen.
- Lack of board-certified allergists and immunologists.
Among the 100 biggest metro areas based on population, Austin ranks 62nd for fall pollen and 73rd for spring pollen.
Ahead of Austin in the overall ranking are Scranton, Pennsylvania (No. 1); Wichita, Kansas (No. 2); McAllen (No. 3); and Richmond, Virginia (No. 4).
Elsewhere in Texas:
- San Antonio holds the No. 5 spot.
- El Paso holds the No. 15 spot.
- Dallas holds the No. 28 spot.
- Houston holds the No. 34 spot.
Seattle claims the award for being the least problematic metro area in terms of seasonal allergies.
“Climate change is a public health emergency. More than 24 million people in the U.S. have seasonal allergic rhinitis, which is most often caused by pollen allergies,” says Kenneth Mendez, president and CEO of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. “If we don’t slow down the warming temperatures, pollen production will only intensify. This means symptoms could worsen as climate change continues to evolve.”