Allergy Season 2018: Worst Cities to Visit, Live In For Allergy Sufferers

It's officially May, and, as the saying goes, the April showers helped bring May flowers. And with those flowers came allergy season. Pretty much everywhere across the United States, flowers are blooming and trees are sprouting new leaves, and both are bringing an abundance of pollen. But people in some cities are more likely to experience allergy symptoms, like runny noses, congestion and itchy watery eyes, than in others.

Five cities across the country were named the "most challenging places to live with spring allergies" by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA). The cities that top the list and take the No. 5 spot are both in Texas. McAllen was ranked the most challenging to live in, with San Antonio in fifth place.

In second place was Louisville, Kentucky, followed by Jackson, Mississippi, in third place and Memphis, Tennessee, in fourth.

The ranking is based on the pollen and mold counts, the amount of allergy medication used there and the availability of the board-certified allergists in the area, the AAFA said. McAllen residents and visitors there encountered the city's above-average pollen and mold as well as fewer available allergists.

For those whose city didn't make the list, the AAFA also provided regional rankings of cities. Providence, Rhode Island, was named the most challenging city for allergy sufferers in the Northeast, and Las Vegas the most challenging for those in the West.

It's likely that allergy seasons will get only worse in the future, according to the National Climate Assessment. A full report of the pollen and mold scores, along with other factors the AAFA considered, is available with a list of 100 cities across the country, including New York, at No. 25; Los Angeles, 66; and Miami, 29. All three of those cities are worse off this year than they were in 2016, the report shows.

woman sneezing
A woman sneezing in Godewaersvelde, northern France, on May 18, 2013. The return of pleasant weather marks the arrival of allergenic pollen. In the United States, McAllen, Texas, was ranked the most challenging city for seasonal allergy sufferers. Philippe Huguen/Getty Images