Ohio ranks one of the worst places for allergy season

Andrew Smith, Staff Writer

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The first day of spring began on March 20, bringing with it a stark change in weather and ushering in a swath of pollen-filled air, sending thousands of allergies suffers running to the drug store or to the closest box of tissues.

Wright State student Adam Donovan knows the feeling all too well.

“I get watery eyes, then I kind of get stuffed up, and just kind of don’t feel the greatest,” Donovan said.

Donovan’s affliction is shared by scores of other Dayton residents as well. The Gem City was ranked the seventh worst city out of “the 100 most challenging places to live with allergies,” by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), according to the foundation’s website.

Cities were ranked on three metrics: pollen scores, including airborne grass, tree, weed pollen and mold spores, the number of allergy medications used per patient and number of allergy specialists per patient. The AAFA scored Dayton “worse than average” in all three categories and brought the city’s ranking up three spots from last year.

The AAFA estimates that the annual cost of allergies is about $14.5 billion, and over $12 billion is used towards doctor office visits and medications.

Some of the local pollinating trees in Dayton highlighted on the AAFA’s scorecard were red cedar, elm, hazelnut, alder and aspen.

Other Ohio cities receiving low scores included Youngstown (27th), Toledo (29th), Akron (44th), Cleveland (47th), Columbus (56th) and Cincinnati (69th). Most of the top 10 cities were dominated by the southeast region of the U.S., including the worst ranked city, Jackson, MS.

“Our spring listing usually features cities from the southeast and deep south, and the #1 spot is almost always a southern city,” AAFA Vice President of External Affairs Mike Tringale said on the foundation’s website.

Still, despite Dayton’s low standing with the AAFA, Donovan said the thought of leaving Dayton has not occurred to him.

“No, not really,” Donovan said. “I know most places are better. I know some people that went out of state for school and right away their allergies got about five times better, but it’s not bad enough for me to consider moving.”

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