Allergy Capital of the USA
Health
Mike Parker

Jackson, Mississippi is rightfully known as the City of Soul because of the large number of blues, gospel, folk and jazz musicians that call Jackson home. The city was even mentioned in Mark Ronson’s 2014 hit song “Uptown Funk,” featuring Bruno Mars. But Jackson has another claim to fame that is, perhaps, less pleasant for local residents. According to Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, Jackson, Mississippi continues it reign as the Allergy Capital of the United States.

The AAFA has published its annual guide to the Most Challenging City for Fall Allergies since 2003, as part of its campaign to raise awareness about the impact of fall allergies, and to help improve the quality of life for the people who experience them. Jackson topped the organization’s list for Most Challenging Cities for Spring Allergies in 2016, and maintained its position for the Fall 2016.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 50 million Americans suffer from nasal allergies, and the resulting treatments result in more than $18 billion annual in health costs. Allergies are the 6th leading cause of chronic illness in the U.S., and the AAFA estimates approximately 10 percent of American children suffer from respiratory allergies.

Moving to another city, such as Daytona Beach, Florida (which came in at #100 on the AAFA’s list) to avoid seasonal allergies probably isn’t an option for most people, and most allergists are of the opinion that it wouldn’t help that much anyway. The root causes of allergies, including pollen, mold, dust and pollution are simply too widespread to avoid entirely. And chances are, if you move, you’ll just be trading one type of pollen for another.

Fortunately, most people who suffer from seasonal allergies can find relief by taking a few preventative steps. The Mayo Clinic recommends reducing your exposure to allergy triggers by staying indoors when the pollen count is high, and by using high efficiency filters for your HVAC. Over the counter oral antihistamines and decongestants can provide some relief from stuffy nose, watery eyes, runny nose, itching and sneezing. And a saline solution nasal rinse can help remove mucus, pollen and other allergens from your nasal passages.

If home remedies and over the counter medications aren’t sufficient to provide significant relief, it’s probably time to see your doctor to help determine specific substances you may be allergic to, and to determine the appropriate treatment you help you breathe more freely
 

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