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Greenville (South Carolina's) Rank as an Allergy Capital Fall 2011

Posted Dec 13 2011 12:00am
Here is how Greenville, South Carolina has been ranked in the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America's lists of the top 100 most challenging places to live in the U.S. for: Spring Allergies, Fall Allergies, or Asthma.

Year Spring Allergy rank Fall Allergy rank Asthma rank
2003 13 24 not done
2004 19 34 54
2005 6 32 58
2006* 2 1 68
2007 53 45 34
2008 1728
2009 25 96 49
2010 28 44 59
2011 20 31 83

updated 12/13/11.

* = A good or bad year for us, depending on your perspective!

Commentary: Most of the top 50 cities in the Allergy Capitals lists are in the Southeastern U.S. The likely explanation is the highest pollen counts occur in the Southeastern U.S., because of the longer and warmer climate + greater vegetation which cause more allergies and so more medication use. These are two of three criteria used to determine the rankings. The table above can not be found in this format anywhere else on the internet.

Addendum: 4/24/11
I disagree with the 3 measurements used to determine their rankings of Allergy Capitals:
  • Pollen scores (airborne grass/tree/weed pollen and mold spores)*
  • Number of allergy medications used per patient
  • Number of allergy specialists per patient.
Many of the cities in the rankings do not have any pollen counting stations.  How then are their pollen scores calculated?  They must be estimated.  This is 33% of their score.  This greatly affects the rankings.  Physicians are humans also and so tend to live in larger cities and nicer areas.  This may boost the rankings of these cities.
Separately, Greenville ranks about 20th in the spring and about 42nd in the fall fairly consistently.The pollen counts are higher in the spring than in the fall, as it is for most of the SE US.
12/13/11 My other objection to the list is: how are the pollen and mold counts determined?  My office has been responsible for the pollen counts in Greenville since 2000.  We don't publish mold counts, because we use a Rotorod sampler, which does not count mold spores accurately.  Almost every site listed in the National Allergy Bureau's website uses the same sampler (private communication).  I also know the NAB does not monitor 100 other pollen and mold counting stations.  So where does the certified data come from?  I happen to have lived in Dayton, OH and I know the pollen counts weren't as high as Greenville's.  Perhaps the climate and vegetation has changed.
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