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30 Worst U.S. Cities For Allergies

First Posted: 05/26/11 09:28 AM ET   Updated: 07/26/11 06:12 AM ET

If the reports are right, then this allergy season is going to be worse -- and longer -- than it has been in previous years. One in five Americans suffers from some type of allergy, and the number of red eyes and sniffling may be increasing across the United States.

According to a large, nationally representative study involving two million blood samples by research lab Quest Diagnostics, allergies are on the rise -- ragweed sensitivity jumped 15 percent between 2005 and 2008, while mold increased by 12 percent. And the overall sensitization rate to 11 different allergens, according to the findings, climbed almost six percent during that same time frame.

"The level of sensitization to these common allergens is increasing," study author Stanley Naides of Quest Diagnostics' Nichols Institute told USA Today. And, as with many things in life, it may come down to a matter of location, location, location. "The highest areas are in the Southwest, and one has to raise the question of whether weather is contributing to this." That may mean climate change is a factor in increasing allergy rates, according to Naides, although more research is needed before drawing definitive conclusions.

Topping that regional list were Phoenix and Las Vegas, newly crowned as the allergy capitals of the country. Check out Quest Diagnostics' list of the top states for ragweed allergies, based on the percent of people who have a sensitivity, below -- their website also has a list that encompasses sensitization figures on all 11 popular allergens, as well as more graphics to explain their widespread findings.

Did your city make the list?

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  • Phoenix

    Ragweed Sensitization Rate: 29.3 <em>Source: <a href="http://www.questdiagnostics.com/home/physicians/health-trends/allergies" target="_blank">Quest Diagnostics</a>.</em>

  • Las Vegas

    Ragweed Sensitization Rate: 25.7

  • Kansas City

    Ragweed Sensitization Rate: 24.1

  • Riverside-San Bernardino

    Ragweed Sensitization Rate: 24.1

  • Dallas

    Ragweed Sensitization Rate: 23.6

  • Chicago

    Ragweed Sensitization Rate: 23.1

  • Sacramento

    Ragweed Sensitization Rate: 22.9

  • Philadelphia

    Ragweed Sensitization Rate: 22.6

  • Denver

    Ragweed Sensitization Rate: 22.3

  • Washington, D.C.

    Ragweed Sensitization Rate: 21.7

  • Minneapolis/St. Paul

    Ragweed Sensitization Rate: 21.7

  • New York

    Ragweed Sensitization Rate: 21.2

  • Cincinnati

    Ragweed Sensitization Rate: 21.1

  • Baltimore

    Ragweed Sensitization Rate: 20.5

  • Cleveland

    Ragweed Sensitization Rate: 20.3

  • St. Louis

    Ragweed Sensitization Rate: 19.9

  • Detroit

    Ragweed Sensitization Rate: 19.9

  • Atlanta

    Ragweed Sensitization Rate: 19.4

  • Boston

    Ragweed Sensitization Rate: 18.1

  • Pittsburgh

    Ragweed Sensitization Rate: 17

  • Orlando

    Ragweed Sensitization Rate: 17.6

  • Los Angeles

    Ragweed Sensitization Rate: 17.4

  • San Antonio

    Ragweed Sensitization Rate: 17.4

  • Houston

    Ragweed Sensitization Rate: 16.6

  • Seattle

    Ragweed Sensitization Rate: 15.6

  • San Diego

    Ragweed Sensitization Rate: 15

  • Tampa

    Ragweed Sensitization Rate: 14.3

  • Portland

    Ragweed Sensitization Rate: 14.2

  • San Francisco

    Ragweed Sensitization Rate: 11.4

  • Miami

    Ragweed Sensitization Rate: 10.8

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Filed by Laura Schocker  |