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Safest US Vacation Spots for People with Asthma & Allergies

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Child doing nebulizations to help his asthma episode, being helped by his mom.

If you have asthma, allergies, or any other chronic disease triggered by air conditions, you already know that where you live (and travel) plays a significant role in your well-being.

In fact, there are several factors to consider before visiting a new city, such as:

  • The presence of smog
  • General air quality
  • Pollution levels

Luckily, being asthmatic or suffering from allergies doesn’t have to be a limiting factor. You still travel the world! And there are thousands of amazing and safe vacation spots to choose from.

If you’re planning your next trip and you (or someone you love) suffer from asthma or allergies, look no further.

In today’s post, we’ll share:

  • How allergies and asthma work
  • Some tips to mitigate them
  • Our shortlist of the safest US vacation spots for people with asthma or allergies

Ready? Let’s go!

How Do Allergies Work?

An allergy is a reaction of the immune system to a foreign substance (also known as an allergen). This allergen could be something you eat, touch, inhale into your lungs, or inject into your body.

In addition, an allergic reaction can cause:

  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Rashes
  • Hives
  • Itchy eyes
  • Scratchy throat
  • A runny nose

And in severe cases, it may lead to:

  • Low blood pressure
  • Trouble breathing
  • Asthma attacks

If not treated properly, a severe allergic reaction could be fatal.

There is no definitive cure for allergies. But a combination of prevention and treatment can help you manage them.

Managing Your Allergies: Some Tips

Allergies are going to affect you no matter where you go. Still, here are some things you can do to help mitigate their effect:

  • Limit the time you spend outdoors
  • Before going to bed, take a shower to remove any remaining pollen or allergens
  • If you spent time outdoors, change and wash your clothes
  • Take off your shoes when entering your home
  • Keep floors clean and vacuumed
  • Ensure that your air conditioning unit has a filter – both at home and when staying at rentals
  • Keep your nasal passages clean of allergens by flushing them regularly
  • Try over-the-counter medication
  • Consider getting allergy shots (immunotherapy) to help your body deal with allergens more effectively

Allergy-Friendly Places to Visit in the USA

According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), the following are the 15 best cities to live in the USA if you have allergies:

  1. Seattle, WA
  2. Durham, NC
  3. San Francisco, CA
  4. San Jose, CA
  5. Portland, OR
  6. Sacramento, CA
  7. Denver, CO
  8. Provo, UT
  9. Phoenix, AZ
  10. Fresno, CA
  11. Salt Lake City, UT
  12. Washington, DC
  13. San Diego, CA
  14. Madison, WI
  15. Stockton, CA

Most cities are located in the Midwest and the Pacific Northwest. This is because, during the colder seasons, these regions produce less pollen and it stays in the air for a shorter period. Plus, pollen and spores are less common in dry and high-altitude environments, since fewer plants and fungi grow there.

However, it’s important to note that allergens are present everywhere. Therefore, allergies are likely to affect you wherever you are. Why? It’s common for pollen proteins to be similar across plant families and to be highly cross-reactive. In other words, you can develop allergies to a new plant in a new place because it’s in the same plant family.

Moreover, since different regions of the country have different levels of allergens, getting tested for allergies is a good idea to determine what triggers yours. Thus, you will make a wiser decision. For instance, ragweed pollen is lower in the Pacific Northwest, but grass and tree pollen are the same.

How Does Asthma Work?

Asthma is a chronic disease that causes inflammation and swelling of the airways. As a result, the airways that take air from the nose and mouth to the lungs become narrow.

Some of the most common symptoms are:

  • Coughing
  • Trouble breathing
  • Wheezing
  • Chest pain or tightness.

Different factors can trigger asthma episodes for different people.
Common triggers include:

  • Allergens (e.g: dust, pollen, pet dander)
  • Certain foods
  • Exercise

An asthma episode could be fatal. However, with the appropriate treatment and precautions, these episodes can be prevented and managed.

Managing Your Asthma: Some Tips

Asthma and other respiratory conditions can be aggravated by pollen, air quality, pets, and smoking, among others factors. You can control your breathing issues by knowing what triggers them.

Here are some tips to keep your asthma in check:

  • Make sure you do not expose yourself to secondhand smoke, chemicals, or fumes
  • Keep windows closed
  • Used an air conditioner at home and when traveling by car
  • Keep your pets out of your bedroom
  • On days when pollution and pollen levels are high, avoid exercising outdoors (you can always check those
  • metrics on weather websites)
  • If your pets spend most of their time outdoors, bathe them regularly
  • Be sure to take your medication as instructed by your healthcare provider
  • Using a peak flow meter can help you manage and prevent symptoms
  • Change your clothes and take a shower after being outdoors for a long time
  • Don’t smoke

Asthma-Friendly Places in the USA

According to the AAFA’s report, the following cities are the 15 best cities to live in the USA if you have asthma:

  1. El Paso, TX
  2. McAllen, TX
  3. Provo, UT
  4. Houston, TX
  5. San Antonio, TX
  6. Colorado Springs, CO
  7. Austin, TX
  8. Oxnard, CA
  9. Minneapolis, MN
  10. San Francisco, CA
  11. Los Angeles, CA
  12. Baton Rouge, LA
  13. Dallas, TX
  14. Riverside, CA
  15. Denver, CO

Cities are ranked according to three indicators:

  • Asthma population rates
  • Emergency department visits related to asthma
  • Asthma-related death rates

Key Takeaways

In today’s post, we took a look at some of the best places to visit for asthmatics and allergy sufferers. As a person suffering from these conditions, traveling the world can be tricky. But at the end of the day, you just have to pick the right destination and continue taking care of yourself, as you do at home.

Want to get tested before your next adventure? Find COVID testing locations near you with our international directory.

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