Achoo! Sarasota leads in worst places for allergies, new study shows

Spring has sprung and so has allergy season. A new study shows that Sarasota leads the country in the most challenging places to live with allergies.

The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America has conducted the Allergy Capitals study since 2003 to explore which cities were the worst when it comes to perpetual runny noses and watery eyes. The study looks at tree, grass, and weed pollen scores, over-the-county allergy medicine use, and availability of board-certified allergists.

More than 100 million Americans are affected by various types of allergies every year. Of the top 20 Allergy Capitals, seven were in Florida, including Sarasota at No. 6, Cape Coral at No. 7, Miami at No. 14, Lakeland at No. 15, Palm Bay at No. 17, and Tampa at No. 18.

The top three cities were Wichita, Kansas at No. 1, Dallas at No.2, and Scranton, Pennsylvania at No. 3.

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What causes allergies?

When allergens, like pollen, are inhaled, the body's immune system kicks in and responds with physical symptoms. Generally, springtime is known for the resurgence of allergies because of the regrowth in flowers and plants. Since the weather is warm in Florida year-round, allergy season last for 10 months, according to Florida E.N.T and Allergy.

The Allergy Capitals report showed that pollen seasons starst 20 days earlier and last 10 days longer compared to 30 years ago due to climate change. Growing seasons get longer and warmer, leading to higher tree, grass and weed pollen.

How did Sarasota score?

Sarasota scored with having worse than average pollen, worse than average medicine use, and average availability for allergen specialists.

It ranks No. 3 for worst tree pollen, No. 9 for grass pollen, and No. 16 for weed pollen.

How to prevent allergies?

Limiting contact with pollen is the most effective way to manage seasonal allergies and allergic asthma. The reports suggest to:

  • Check pollen forecasts and plan outdoor activities on low pollen days.

  • Keep windows closed during peak pollen times.

  • Remove shoes before entering the home.

  • Wear sunglasses to limit the amount of pollen that gets in the eyes.

This article originally appeared on Sarasota Herald-Tribune: Allergy season: Sarasota one of worst places for allergies, study shows