How bad are the allergies in Oklahoma City? Twice a year, in the fall and in the spring, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America releases an allergy conditions report on U.S. cities. Sure enough, Oklahoma City regularly ranks as one of the worst for allergy-sufferers. Here are details on the 2016 report, as well as some tips to survive the difficult allergy seasons.
How is the ranking determined? - The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFC), a non-profit advocacy and research organization, began its "Allergy Capitals" report in 2003. The goal is identifying the most challenging places to live with allergies in the United States and reminding the country's estimated 45 million sufferers and 25 million asthmatics to have a treatment plan ready. The report ranks 100 cities based upon three areas of measure:
- Pollen counts
- Number of allergy medications used per patient
- Number of allergy specialists per patient
How does Oklahoma City rank? - In the most recent spring ranking, 2016, Oklahoma City is the 7th worst metropolitan area for allergy sufferers. Both the city's pollen score and medication usage number rank as worse than the national average. The number of board-certified allergists is on par with the average. OKC is behind only Jackson, MS; Memphis, TN; Syracuse, NY; Louisville, KY; McAllen, TX and Wichita, KS. In 2015, the report listed Oklahoma City at 3rd worst.
How does the rank compare to previous years? - Oklahoma City is traditionally in the top 10, often as high as 3. Of course, the exact number is fairly insignificant because regardless of a comparison to other cities, the fact is that Oklahoma City is tough for those with asthma and allergies. In fact, in 2012, the foundation specifically noted this area's abundance of irritating pollen, made worse by the warm and windy spring days. Fall seems to be only marginally better than spring for those in central Oklahoma.
So what can I do about it? - Well, the AAFC offers tips to managing allergies, everything from controlling pet dander to utilizing air-handling devices. OTCsafety.org, a non-profit organization providing education on over-the-counter medicines, features a tip sheet on deciphering the difference between allergies and a cold. And Dr. Daniel More, About.com's Allergies Expert, has an excellent, thorough collection of articles on preventing allergies in their many forms.