The Top 10 Worst Cities For Spring Allergies This Year, and the Polar Vortex Is Partially to Blame

UNDATED: This undated illustration shows Kleenex Brand Anti-Viral tissue. Kimberly-Clark Corporation announced on July 14, 2004 that the new facial tissue product designed to kill viruses that cause colds and the flu will be available at retail outlets throughout the U.S. by early October 2004. (Photo by Kimberly-Clark Corp. via Getty Images)
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After a winter like that, we’re all a little too excited about warm weather and patio brunching to consider spring’s biggest downside: allergies. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) recently released its annual roundup of the worst cities for allergies, and although some parts of the country are off the hook as far as seasonal nasal grief goes, some might want to start preparing now. And this year, there's a twist. According to CNN, the Polar Vortex could make life worse for allergy sufferers. Seriously, earth?!

So, how exactly does more winter equal worse allergies? TIME explains that experiencing excess snow and low temperatures for a longer period of time will mean a “late flowering for trees.” In other words, once spring actually happens, all of the pollinating trees responsible for your sniffling and sneezing will have to make up for lost time and release higher-than-usual amounts of allergens. There will also be extra moisture in the ground due to the melting snow — more wet soil means more damp conditions which means more mold. Groan. 

Like the Polar Vortex, some cities will experience allergies moreso than others. Thanks to the AAFA, we have a clear picture of which cities are in for the worst. Ranked according to pollen levels, use of allergy meds, and number of allergists in the area, the following cities will experience the worst symptoms this year. Spoiler alert: residents of Louisville, Memphis and Baton Rouge may want to start stocking up on Claritin and tissues now.

Here they are: 

1. Louisville, Kentucky

2. Memphis, Tennessee

3. Baton Rouge, Louisiana

4. Oklahoma City

5. Jackson, Mississippi

6. Chattanooga, Tennessee

7. Dallas, Texas

8. Richmond, Virginia

9. Birmingham, Alabama

10. McAllen, Texas 

For the top 100, visit AAFA’s website.

My main concern with all of this: what are we going to name this epic spring allergy event? Perhaps if we put a label as meme-worthy as "Polar Vortex" on it, the repetitive sneezing and itchy eyes won’t seem so bad. I leave this mission in your hands, Internet! 


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