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Sacramento is Spring 2014 allergy capital

Pistil Tulip Pollen Flower Nature
Pistil Tulip Pollen Flower Nature
Omelli @

Sacramento, California is apparently capital to more than our state government.

According to the Asthma & Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), Sacramento is yet again one of the 2014 capitals in the US to Spring allergies.

The Allergy Capitals is an AAFA annual research project to identify “the 100 most challenging places to live with allergies” during the Spring and Fall seasons.

Sacramento (again) made the list.


Allergies reflect an overreaction of the immune system to substances (allergens) that usually cause no reaction in most individuals. These substances can trigger sneezing, wheezing, coughing and itching.

Common allergies induced by exposures to environmental allergens include the following:

  • Allergic asthma: (asthma symptoms triggered by an allergic reaction): Characterized by airway obstruction that is at least partially reversible with medication and is always associated with allergy. Symptoms include coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath or rapid breathing, chest tightness, and occasional fatigue and slight chest pain.
  • Atopic Dermatitis: (eczema, skin allergy): A chronic or recurrent inflammatory skin disease characterized by lesions, scaling and flaking; it is sometimes called eczema.
  • Allergic Conjunctivitis: (eye allergy): Characterized by inflammation of the eyes; it is the most common form of allergic eye disease. Symptoms can include itchy and watery eyes and lid distress. Allergic conjunctivitis is also commonly associated with the presence of other allergic diseases such as atopic dermatitis, allergic rhinitis and allergic asthma.
  • Allergic rhinitis: (hay fever or “indoor/outdoor,” “seasonal,” “perennial” or “nasal” allergies): Characterized by nasal stuffiness, sneezing, nasal itching, clear nasal discharge, and itching of the roof of the mouth and/or ears.

Allergies are not only bothersome, but many have been linked to a variety of common and serious chronic respiratory illnesses. Additionally, allergic reactions can be severe and even fatal.

Measurements And Total Score

The data measured and compared by the AAFA each season includes:

  • Pollen scores - airborne pollen/mold spore levels. Average is considered 300 grains per cubic meter air daily.
  • Medication utilization per patient - per capita utilization and sales of prescription, over the counter, and behind the counter medications. Average is considered 1.06 medications per estimated patient.
  • Board certified allergist per patient - number of board certified allergy and immunology specialists per 10,000 estimated patients. Average is considered to be 0.91 board certified allergists per 10,000 estimated patients.

To calculate a Total Score, the total pollen, medication, and board certified physician scores were rescaled 100 points to the largest score and presenting all other scores as a percentage of the largest.

Louisville, Kentucky was the worst Spring 2014 US allergy capital, ranked #1 with a Total Score of 100.

Sacramento And Other California Allergy Capitals

The Total Scores make for interesting reading. Here is a California summary of the 2014 Spring ranking.

  • Los Angeles - Rank 38. Total Score of 70.38. 2013 Rank 77.
  • Fresno - Rank 54. Total Score of 67.11. 2013 Rank 65.
  • Modesto - Rank 76. Total Score of 61.37. 2013 Rank 81.
  • San Francisco - Rank 77. Total Score of 61.26. 2013 Rank 84.
  • San Jose - Rank 78. Total Score of 60.56. 2013 Rank 88.
  • Bakersfield - Rank 81. Total Score of 58.85. 2013 Rank 82.
  • Riverside - Rank 82. Total Score of 56.93. 2013 Rank 49.
  • Stockton - Rank 84. Total Score of 56.17. 2013 Rank 92.
  • Sacramento - Rank 88. Total Score of 54.82. 2013 Rank 94.
  • Oxnard - Rank 91. Total Score of 54.41. 2013 Rank 90.
  • San Diego - Rank 97. Total Score of 48.71. 2013 Rank 97.

The US Office of Management and Budget has defined 381 Metropolitan Statistical Areas for the US.

These are defined as one or more adjacent counties or county equivalents that have at least one urban core area of at least 50,000 population, plus adjacent territory that has a high degree of social and economic integration with the core as measured by commuting ties.

Sacramento is not destined to forever each year be identified as an allergy capital, which has a worsening rank. We can do something about this. We need to respond.

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