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Louisville Is Allergy Capital of America…Again


  It’s spring time in Louisville and that means pollen is in the air.For the third time in 12 years, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America has placed Louisville atop its list of American Allergy Capitals (it was top of the list in 2003 and 2009, too). The report takes into consideration a city’s pollen score, the number of allergy medications in use and the number of allergy specialists per patient.The results translate into Louisville being the most challenging city to live in for allergy sufferers.But Gerald Lee, an allergist with University of Louisville, says steps can be taken to manage allergies.“You actually don’t have to accept these symptoms,” he said.  “Relief is possible.”“Allergy is one of those conditions that we can actually modify the disease,” Lee said.Lee encourages allergy suffers to get evaluated by an allergist to develop an allergy management plan.“We can anticipate flare ups and get you situated so you won’t even notice it,” he said.  “Medication is one step, the other is desensitization.” Lee says there are three main allergy seasons, which begin in February and last until October.“The main pollen season typically starts in February, but that is a little different this  year, that is the tree pollen season and that lasts until June.  The grass pollen season starts around April and goes until July.  And the weed pollen season, everyone hears about ragweed, that starts around August and lasts until October,” he said.Lee said he does not expect the allergy season to weaken.“Allergy has been the culture of Louisville, so we accept it,” he said. “But, you would be surprised that you can actually not dread the beginning of spring.”Lee suggests downloading the American Lung Association’s ‘State of the Air’ smart phone app for alerts on high pollen days.

Jacob Ryan is an award-winning investigative reporter who joined LPM in 2014. Email Jacob at jryan@lpm.org.