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4 Pa. cities — including Pittsburgh — ranked on list of bad places to live with allergies

A close-up of a a dandelion.
Matt Rourke
A close-up of a a dandelion is shown, Friday, May 10, 2013, in Philadelphia.

The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America released a top 100 list for the most challenging places to live with allergies. Most of the ranked cities are in the Midwest or South, with Wichita, Kansas taking the top spot for the second year in a row.

This year, though, the list included four Pennsylvania cities: Allentown at number 11, Pittsburgh at 52, Philadelphia at 57, and Harrisburg at 64. The latter three were listed in the average category, while Allentown was scored worse than average.

Rankings are based on factors like pollen scores, over-the-counter allergy medicine use, and availability of allergists and immunologists.

This year’s report also seeks to draw attention to the climate crisis, as climate change causes growing seasons to start earlier and last longer. Warmer temperatures cause pollen counts to rise.

Add onto that the increase of carbon dioxide in the air, which also causes trees to produce more pollen. Since 1990, pollen seasons have seen 21% more pollen, according to the report.

The report suggests planning your day based on the daily pollen count. Outdoor activities should be saved for days with lower counts if possible. On days with high counts, people should wear sunglasses, a hat, and a mask to limit the amount of pollen getting into your eyes, nose, mouth, and lungs.

For those looking to keep pollen out of their homes, removing shoes before coming inside, removing shoes and clothes that were worn outside, regularly cleaning pets and bedding, and keeping windows closed around midday could do wonders.

Read more from our partners, WDIY.