Category Archives: Tennessee [TN]

Duration of current pollen season

I am interested in finding out what are the projected duration of the current pollen season and it’s expected intensity. Since the warmer than normal winter and spring so far has caused an early launch of the pollen this year, does it then follow that the season will be of normal duration (ie will end earlier due to the earlier start) or is it expected be longer? All these types of questions that would be posed by the typical allergy/asthma sufferer are of interest to me – submitted by George, Bel Air, Maryland

Allergy Season
Courtesy neoporpupine, Flickr
[Response from Lois (AllergyNurse)]: Excellent question and perfect timing, George! I have been monitoring this all year. By mid-February, many were already lamenting the early allergy season and, unfortunately, most agree this also means a longer and more intense dusting of pollen is in store for us this year as well.

For example, in this February 14th NBC Nightly News report, Dr. Stanley Fineman of Alanta Allergy & Asthma Clinic says the high pollen counts that were not seen last year until around the 20th of February were notable the day after Groundhog day (February 2) this year. In the same report, a spokesperson from Georgia’s Callaway Gardens noted that azaleas were blooming about a month early this year.

In this February 16th WPRI Eyewitness News report from in Providence, RI, Warwick allergist Dr. David Katzen warned, “…with tree pollen starting earlier, pollen should also be in the air longer. That means…people who have never had allergies before could experience symptoms for the first time.”

A week later, we noted these headlines on the February 24th, NBC4 Columbus, Ohio, newscast: Early and Long Allergy Season Ahead.

On February 24th, ABC News4 in Charleston, SC, ended it’s report with this warning: “Experts say just because the pollen season started early doesn’t mean that it will end early.”

Fast forward to this April 8, Toledo Blade report (Toledo, Ohio), where Dr. M. Razi Rafeeq, president of the Toledo Allergy Society with offices in Maumee and Oregon, is quoted as saying, “This year, patients started coming into Toledo area allergists’ offices for shots and other treatments about a month earlier than normal.” Dr. Rafeeq also echos a similar report to others we have seen, that “he has patients in their 50s and 60s who had seasonal allergy problems years ago, got better, but are having problems again because the season is more intense.

Just two days ago, April 9, WREG News3 in Memphis, TN, headlined their report like this: Allergy Season Longer, Stronger. This story reports that Dr. Barry Politi of Horn Lake’s Family and Urgent Care Clinic “says the severely allergic can expect to have problems off and on perhaps all summer.”

I plan to share more about this in an upcoming post.

Most difficult place to live with allergies in 2012

Knoxville, TN, topped the list as the most difficult place to live with allergies in the Asthma and Allergy Foundation’s Fall Allergy Roundup in 2011, and it has taken the #1 spot for spring allergies in 2012 as well. Knoxville scored second in AAFA’s spring, 2011, list. In second place for Fall allergies this year is McAllen, TX. You can see the complete list for Spring, 2012, on the AAFA website.

AAFA bases its rankings on 3 factors: Pollen scores, number of allergy medications used per patient, and number of allergy specialists per patient.

Fall Allergy Capitals, Portland better than average 2011

The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) released it’s “Fall Allergy Capitals” this month. Topping the list is Knoxville, TN, followed by Dayton, OH, McAllen, TX, Jackson, MS, and Oklahoma City, OK. AAFA does extensive research each year to provide this information on an annual basis.

Each Spring, AAFA also publishes their “Asthma Capitals” list. We did a full writeup of their 2011 Spring Allergy report soon after the report was released.This year, Richmond, VA tops the list. See the AAFA complete report listing the top ten Asthma Capitals linked below.

AAFA says, “There is no place safe from allergies in America, and some cities are more problematic than others.” Our goal here at Allergy Climates is to provide a place where people in the US and around the world can share which areas are least/most problematic for them.

Portland, Oregon ranks #100 on both lists this year for 2011, topping the year for the “better than average” place to live with allergies/asthma. What is your experience with allergy and asthma in Portland?

AAFA Asthma Capitals (Spring)
AAFA Fall Allergy Capitals

Best and worst places for asthma and allergy in 2011 – hats off, Portland!

Asthma report for 2011

The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) recently published its “Asthma Capitals” report for 2011. Each year AAFA researches, compiles, analyzes, and compares data from its own surveys as well as numerous U.S Government and other qualified agencies, and provides reports for the challenges allergy and asthma sufferers face in areas across the U.S. AAFA weighs a number of factors in their rankings. For more about AAFA and their work and reports, see references below.

Worst places for asthma and allergy

Richmond, VA, tops the AAFA 2011 list as the most challenging place to live with asthma, followed by Knoxville, TN, in second place, and Memphis, TN, in third. With four Tennessee cities in the top ten list, it seems perhaps Tennessee wins the trophy for most challenging State Asthma Capital in 2011. However, this latter conclusion is merely speculation on my part, and not part of the AAFA report.

For fall allergies, Dayton, OH, took first place (for worst) in AAFA’s “Fall Allergy Capitals,” 2010, followed by Wichita, KS, in second, and Louisville, KY placing third.

Best places for asthma and allergy

I’m often asked about best places for asthma and allergy sufferers. The AAFA compares the 100 largest U.S. cities for their report, with the areas at the bottom of the list being “better than average” areas for those with asthma. This puts the 100th ranked Portland, OR, area in first place for better areas for those with asthma, 99th ranked San Francisco, CA, area in second, and 98th ranked Colorado Springs, CO, area in third for 2011.

In the AAFA “Fall Allergy Capitals,” 2010, Portland, OR, also took the 100th spot, followed by Seattle, WA, in 99th, and San Diego, CA, in 98th. Hats off to Portland!

It’s important to remember that many factors go into determining which area is best for you. Your allergies may be completely different from those of others who report problems or relief in a specific area. Keep in mind also that moving away from one area’s allergens can lead to development of new allergies to prevalent allergens where you move.

Investigate info from AAFA’s “Asthma Capitals,” as well as their fall and spring “Allergy Capitals” reports, including prevalence, risk, and medical factors for cities nearest areas which you are considering for possible relocation. Search others’ experiences here at “Allergy Climates and Seasons,” repeat visits to areas you are interested in during each season of the year, and stay as long as possible with each visit to areas where you might potentially want to live. Before you make the move, talk with people in the area about common allergies, and ask if there other environmental or health-related concerns in that area which you may not have considered.


  1. Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA).
  2. Asthma Capitals.
  3. Allergy Capitals.
  4. We appreciate the extensive research, data gathering, and compilation provided by AAFA. Their efforts to promote quality air enriches life for all of us. We have referenced their reports several times through the years in an effort to provide current information for allergy sufferers.

Allergies in IN,TN and AL: midwest or PA better?

My son and I lived in Indiana most of our lives. Normal seasonal allergies. Nothing major (our bodies adapted to the pollens well since we lived there for such a long time). In 06 we moved to Tennessee and my allergies became terrible. Had to use an inhaler. My son had to go on allergy medicine for the first time. His sinuses became clogged constantly. We moved to Alabama this May (09). It has been a living nightmare. I have had pneumonia twice. My son lost his singing voice and had to go to an allergist. I am unemployed and no insurance. I take the allergy medicine that didn’t work for him. We are considering Seattle, Washington or back to the midwest like Kansas City or Pennsylvania. Seattle is out top pick for many reasons. I don’t want to move across the country and find we are in a nightmare. So far I have seen only one posting that someone couldn’t live there. Other than that, it seems favorable. I will take all of the feedback I can get. I’m a single Mom and a move this large for nothing could be catastrophic for to us. Thanks so much! – Submitted by Michelle in Alabama

Allergies in Ohio, Memphis, Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada

We need to move from Ohio. I am allergic to dust mites, trees that are grown in Ohio and the Midwest, and grass. My wife is allergic to molds. I can not even take my 5 year old son outside without getting Bhronchitis this year. We are looking at moving to either Arizonia, Southern California, Colorado or Nevada. Which place would be best? I lived in NW Ohio and Central Ohio except for 5 years in Memphis. My allergies have always been bad in Ohio. My allergies were a little better in Memphis. — Rick, Ohio

Live where it makes you happy and manage the side effects

I have suffered with hives and allergies all my life. Born and raised in the southeast-TN, FL, NC. As an adult I chose to move around the country to find healthier ground. I went to the Northeast – too cold – so I moved to Las Vegas in 1997.

I thought the dry heat would help. Once you get past the first year of nose bleeds and sinus dryness and dehydration, it does get a little better becuase there are no real season changes. Although there are many new allergies I had never felt before – Watery burning eyes for weeks from the dust and blooming olive trees (olive trees which became such a air hazard they were banned from the county).

The first year was bad but after 8 years I decieded to move back southeast to NC. Mainly due to the pollution (air qaulity) in Las Vegas has gotten so bad. Now that I have been back the first six months have been as it should getting use to the changing of seasons again. In six months I have had two colds which put me into the antibiotic slide. One drug to the next always ends up giving me horroable hives/angioedema for weeks.

Now in my mid 30’s I am finally learning how to deal with my body reactions to environment and medications with all the side effects. Live where it makes you happy and manage the side effects of everthing else. Life is to short to be stuck indoors or in one place. Enjoy life! — GW, North Carolina

Climate and asthma – worst places to live

“There’s no such thing as an ‘asthma-free’ city,” says Mike Tringale, Director of Communications at Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. This is from a February 8, 2006, press release announcing the 2006 U.S. Asthma Capitals.

Topping the list are Scranton, PA, Richmond, VA, and Philadelphia, PA. Only one southern city, 4th ranked Atlanta, GA, made the top ten this year. You can check out the entire list of 100 Worst Cities for Asthma in 2006 from the AAFA website.

This is the third year AAFA has ranked cities for asthma. During the first two years, southern cities took the top three spots with the exception of third-ranked St. Louis, MO in 2005. St. Louis has consistently scored in the top ten all three years. In 2004, KY and TN topped the list, and last year (2005) Little Rock, AR (directly east of my western AR location) and St. Louis, MO (directly to my north) took the #2 and #3 spots. This year brought some surprises, as the North Central and North Eastern seaboard areas seem to dominate. See the 2004, 2005, and 2006 lists to see how your area fares.

Feel free to share any local reports or commentary from your area in the comments. Copyrighted material should be in the form of links with your comments about the link. Please do not post copyrighted material, with the exception of a brief sentence to introduce the link.

Guadalajara, Mexico; Memphis; Southwest

After suffering from recurrent sinus infections, asthma and allergies, I began to study climate and locations to try to better my situation. I chose Guadalajara, Mexico, after trying some SW locations.

The results have been/are amazing. No allergy, asthma or sinus problems while there over a six year period. Yet, each time that I returned to the US – the Memphis area – I became ill almost immediately, and returned to all of the medications, antibiotics, prednisone, inhaled steroids etc. and suffered until returning to Guadalajara, where I felt better almost immediately, and was fully recovered within a week. Often in a day or so.

The climate in Guadalajara is said to be the “2nd best in the world.” GDL is a mile high and does not have wide ranges or swings of temperature. While there is air pollution, it would appear that the high-dry climate was beneficial to my condition. — M.C.M., Guadalajara, Mexico

[Originally posted to Allergy on May 18, 2003]