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Report: Climate Change Makes Living with Allergies a Challenge

Mar 14, 2024 | Press Release

AAFA’s 2024 Allergy Capitals™ report names most challenging cities for living with allergies

Washington D.C., March 14, 2024 — The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) released its 2024 Allergy Capitals™ report detailing the most challenging cities in the United States for living with allergies. The full report can be found at

This year, Wichita, Kansas takes the top spot due to its higher-than-average tree and grass pollen, higher-than-average medicine use, and limited access to allergy specialists. The top 20 Allergy Capitals™ for 2024 are:

1. Wichita, KS
2. Virginia Beach, VA
3. Greenville, SC
4. Dallas, TX
5. Oklahoma City, OK
6. Tulsa, OK
7. Richmond, VA

8. Des Moines, IA
9. Raleigh, NC
10. Fayetteville, AR
11. Allentown, PA
12. Baton Rouge, LA
13. Sarasota, FL
14. Houston, TX

15. Columbia, SC
16. Orlando, FL
17. Little Rock, AR
18. Chattanooga, TN
19. Greensboro, NC
20. Kansas City, MO

This year’s report again calls attention to the urgency of the climate crisis. Due to climate change, growing seasons start earlier and last longer than they did just 30 years ago. Some parts of the United States now experience pollen (tree, grass, or weed) year-round. Warmer temperatures also trap heat in urban areas, increase air pollution, and stimulate pollen production.

“Climate change fuels a perfect storm of conditions that make allergy season worse for people with pollen allergy,” said AAFA President and CEO Kenneth Mendez. “Longer growing seasons mean more exposure to pollen allergy triggers. Additionally, pollen counts tend to rise with warmer temperatures. Now, we see both more days of exposure to pollen and higher daily pollen counts leading to more intense, longer-lasting symptoms.”

AAFA’s 2024 Allergy Capitals™ report provides insight into factors impacting seasonal allergies. The report ranks the 100 most populous cities in the contiguous United States by their:

  • Tree, grass, and weed pollen scores
  • Over-the-counter allergy medicine use
  • Availability of board-certified allergists/immunologists 

Experts say a range of treatment options are available for people dealing with seasonal allergies this spring.

“Over-the-counter medicines can help manage symptoms,” said allergist Dr. Neeta Ogden, spokesperson for AAFA. “Working with a specialist can help you develop the best treatment plan.”

While the symptoms of pollen allergy can be managed, they are a significant health concern. Seasonal allergies can even lead to hospitalization if they trigger an asthma episode.

“With over 100 million people affected by allergies, it’s the sixth leading cause of chronic illness in the U.S.,” said Melanie Carver, AAFA Chief Mission Officer. “Allergies are a common asthma trigger and lead to increased hospital visits for asthma during peak pollen seasons.”

For information on preventing and treating allergies and asthma, visit

Press Contact:
Andy Spears
Public Affairs Manager
Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA)

About the Research

The 2024 Allergy Capitals™ research and ranking is reported by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. The ranking is based on analysis of data from the 100 most-populated Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) in the contiguous 48 states as determined by the most recent U.S. Census Bureau population estimates (2021). The individual factors analyzed for the 2024 rankings are pollen scores for tree, grass, and weed pollen, over-the-counter medication use (allergy), and number of allergy specialists. 

For each MSA, AAFA obtained daily pollen counts for each growth form (tree, grass, and weed) for the most recent calendar year (2023). Data were obtained from Pollen Sense, LLC Automated Particulate Sensors (APS). These sensors automatically image particulate matter collected from ambient air and use a neural network algorithm to identify individual pollen species and calculate daily pollen counts.

About AAFA

Founded in 1953, AAFA is the oldest and largest non-profit patient organization dedicated to saving lives and reducing the burden of disease for people with asthma, allergies, and related conditions through research, education, advocacy, and support. AAFA offers extensive support for individuals and families affected by asthma and allergic diseases, such as food allergies and atopic dermatitis (eczema). Through its online patient support communities, network of regional chapters, and collaborations with community-based groups, AAFA empowers patients and their families by providing practical, evidence-based information and community programs and services. AAFA is the only asthma and allergy patient advocacy group that is certified to meet the standards of excellence set by the National Health Council. For more information, visit: and