Download as MP3

Even if you’re sneezing this time of year, a new national report says it could be worse. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America says allergy sufferers in Tucson may be uncomfortable this time of year, but not as uncomfortable as people who live in some other cities. Tucson is ranked 45th on the foundation’s list of Spring Allergy Capitals 2010.

The rankings were compiled by evaluating pollen scores, the number of allergy medications used per patient and the number of allergy specialists per patient. Knoxville, Tennessee is ranked as the worst city for allergy sufferers.

While Tucson still ranked in the upper half of the list, it’s a far cry from days gone by.

“A couple of decades ago, we made the front cover of National Geographic...the actual cover...and had an actual feature article in there that we were number one, in terms of the worst place in the nation, to come if you had allergies,” said Tucson pollen and mold expert Dr. Mark Sneller, owner of Aero Allergen Research. “More than half of our population has some respiratory distress.”

Sneller attributes some of the improvement in pollen status to Pima County banning Olive and Mulberry trees back in 1985.