Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) Releases 2011 Fall Allergy Capitals™ Rankings

Sep 20, 2011, 10:09 ET from Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America

Top 100 most challenging places to live with seasonal allergies

WASHINGTON, Sept. 20, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --  Today the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) announces the release of the 2011 Fall Allergy Capitals™ rankings, identifying the 100 most challenging places to live with seasonal allergies within the United States. This season, Knoxville, Tennessee was rated the #1 Fall Allergy Capital due to high pollen counts, high use of allergy medications by patients and too few allergists to treat the burgeoning allergy population.  

The Fall Allergy Capitals Rankings is an annual research project and the rankings are based on a scientific analysis of 3 factors for the 100 largest metro areas in the U.S. The data measured and compared each year includes the Pollen scores (airborne grass/tree/weed pollen and mold spores), number of allergy medications used per patient and the number of allergy specialists per patient. A full report of the 2011 Fall Allergy Capitals rankings is available at

Indoor Air Quality: The Inside Scoop

Nearly 40 million Americans have nasal allergies and over 10 million have allergic asthma. For these millions of adults and children allergic to pollen, the next few months will push them indoors to avoid wind-swept allergens and to ultimately escape the chronic symptoms of fall allergies: runny nose and congestion, itchy and watery eyes, violent sneezing, and even coughing and wheezing for people who have allergic asthma. However, even average Americans are spending 60% or more of their time indoors and experts are increasingly cautioning everyone to pay attention to indoor air quality (IAQ), as well.  

Indoor air can be worse than outdoor air.  As a result, "everyone, especially those with allergies and asthma, need to pay close attention to indoor air quality," advises Dr. Clifford W. Bassett, medical director of Allergy & Asthma Care of New York and assistant clinical professor of Medicine at the NYU School of Medicine.  Household triggers like mold that grows in areas with high moisture, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in wood furniture, flooring and traditional paints, or strong chemical odors from some cleaning products are common problems.  "Airborne triggers and irritants can be potentially serious problems and any home, school or office can be an obstacle course if you have asthma or allergies," says Bassett.  "But good air quality can be achieved through smart home solutions."

AAFA encourages people to be aware of indoor air quality all year long regardless of the season and their city.

"A good first step to improving the air quality of your home is as simple as not contaminating it in the first place," according to Mike Tringale, Vice President at AAFA. "For example, your walls make up the largest surface area in your home so choosing interior paints like the new Valspar+ – which is zero VOC with no lingering odor and mold resistant – means families can now reduce indoor irritants, like VOCs, without compromising on color choices or a premium quality finish."  Valspar+ was recently the first paint certified asthma & allergy friendly by AAFA after independent scientific testing confirmed its zero VOC formulation, durability and quality claims.  

In addition to painting with zero-VOC coatings, AAFA offers other simple tips for better indoor air quality:

  • Control dust mites – Wash bed linens at least once weekly, and make sure your washing machine hot water temperature can exceed 130 degrees to kills dust mites and their eggs.  Plus, keep dogs and cats off of your beds – pet dander is a primary source of food for dust mites.

  • Healthy housekeeping – Vacuum at least once weekly and make sure you use a quality vacuum with good constant suction, tight seams with no leaks and a HEPA filter.  Choose scent-free cleaning products and wear a face mask when dusting to reduce your exposure to airborne particles.

  • Filter it out – Look for portable room air filters for bedrooms and common areas, and make sure to replace your HVAC filter at least four times per year.

AAFA offers a free "Guide for Reducing Allergens and Irritants in the Home" that can also be downloaded from

About the Fall Allergy Capitals

Since 2004, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) has provided a new list of 100 Fall Allergy Capitals, the most challenging places to live with fall allergies.  Knoxville was named the #1 Fall Allergy Capital this year due to high pollen counts, high use of allergy medications by patients and too few allergists to treat the burgeoning allergy population.  A full report of all 100 cities is available for free on the Foundations' Web site,

About AAFA

The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), a not-for-profit organization founded in 1953, is the leading patient organization for people with asthma and allergies, and the oldest asthma and allergy patient group in the world.  AAFA provides practical information, community based services and support through a national network of chapters and support groups.  AAFA develops health education, organizes state and national advocacy efforts and funds research to find better treatments and cures. The 2011 Fall Allergy Capitals™ report was made possible by a generous grant from the Valspar corporation.

About the Valspar Corporation

The Valspar Corporation (NYSE: VAL) is a global leader in the paint and coatings industry. Since 1806, Valspar has been dedicated to bringing customers the latest innovations, the finest quality and the best customer service in the coatings industry.

SOURCE Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America