It's so uncomfortable. The watery eyes, the scratchy throat, the runny nose. The annoying (and sometimes, downright miserable) feelings associated with seasonal allergies are familiar to almost half of all Americans, according to a HealthOpin poll. For some seasonal sufferers, the city where they live makes allergy season even more challenging, due to high pollen and mold counts.

The good news for all allergy sufferers, regardless of where they live, is that relief is available. The first step for people with allergies is to try to prevent symptoms before they start, says Danica Schulte, MD, an attending physician with the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, Allergy and Immunology at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

She suggests keeping your windows closed and running a dehumidifier to reduce pollen counts, to use dust mite covers on your pillows, and to keep pets out of your bedroom. If you're already experiencing symptoms, try taking an antihistamine like Zyrtec

Miserable Cities for Allergies

Find out if where you live is one of the top ten worst cities for allergies, as rated by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA). The rankings were based on the prevalence of airborne grass/tree/weed pollen and mold spores, the number of allergy medications used per patient, and the number of allergy specialists per patient.


1. Greensboro, North Carolina.

Perhaps the key reason why Greensboro sits at the top of this list is in its name. All the greenery that makes this southern town so lush may also worsen allergy symptoms. In the fall, ragweed and other weeds and grasses are most likely to aggravate allergies. "Weeds can be as troublesome as springtime allergies," says Schulte. And in a town like Greensboro, which boasts more than 170 parks, it probably produces enough ragweed and pollen to make an allergy sufferer miserable.



2. Greenville, South Carolina.

Much like Greensboro, the green trees and plants that help give Greenville both its name and its beauty can also be an allergy sufferer's worst nightmare. People with asthma must also be particularly careful in Greenville and the other cities on this list. Allergy symptoms can trigger asthma, says Schulte. People with asthma should be especially cautious about preventing allergy flare-ups.



3. Little Rock, Arkansas.

Like other parts of the country in the fall, a common allergy trigger for people living in Arkansas could be weeds. However, higher than average levels of mold are another possible trigger in Arkansas. Molds, which grow on rotting logs, compost piles, and grasses, spread when their spores become airborne.



4. Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina.

In Raleigh-Durham, it's weeds that are the biggest allergy offenders. Weak leaf, yellow Indian grass, and yellow nut sedge are other possible perpetrators. Although Raleigh is proud of its tree-lined streets, residents who are allergic to tree pollen may not enjoy them quite as much. Spring, when most trees pollinate, may be an even worse season for these sufferers.



5. Jackson, Mississippi.

In Mississippi, as in other many other parts of the country, Bermuda grass and ragweed are possible triggers. The American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI) says pollen is released into the air in the morning and is usually most widely circulating between 10 a.m. and noon, so it's best to stay indoors during that time to reduce your symptoms regardless of where you live.



6. Knoxville, Tennessee.

Molds, weeds, and grasses could be making life miserable for allergy sufferers in Knoxville. In particular, a grass called redtop and an herb known as garden sorrel (which is sometimes used in salads) could be culprits.



7. Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Here, it's weeds, including ragweed, plantain and nettle, that are the worst in the fall. If you have to be outside and are concerned about triggering an allergic reaction, be sure to change your clothes and take a shower immediately after being outside.



8. Wichita, Kansas.

If Dorothy had allergies to ragweed or chenopods, it would have beneficial to her to not be in Kansas any more. In the fall, weeds and molds are especially problematic for allergy-prone Kansas residents. 



9. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

It made for memorable song lyrics, but if Oklahoma really is where the wind comes sweeping down the plains, that's bad news for allergy sufferers. That same wind is very likely to carry with it thousands of pollen grains from weeds and grasses like ragweed, chenopod, dock, and wheatgrass—exactly what could set off seasonal allergies.



10. Madison, Wisconsin.

Although it is known for its cheese, not its weeds, Wisconsin residents and visitors who have allergies may focus more on the weed pollen this time of year. Weeds like amaranth, pigweed, and tumbleweed are common in Wisconsin, and some molds flourish there, too.