Dealing with asthma is no easy task. According to Asthma Facts, over 25 million Americans are currently living with asthma. Some may not know that certain locations can increase the risk of this long-term lung disease. Factors such as poor living conditions, seasonal pollen, and air pollution can affect those with asthma. Keep reading to see which cities to avoid if you have asthma.
Providence, Rhode Island
According to Eco RI News, about 11 percent of the population in Providence, Rhode Island suffers from chronic lung disease.
A study of the city’s air pollution found that those who lived closer to the highway and industrial waterfront were more likely to endure unhealthy emissions. The Rhode Island Department of Health also said poor housing conditions were another risk factor.
Cities in Connecticut are one of the hardest hit when it comes to asthma. Bridgeport, Connecticut, and surrounding cities have a worse rate than the entire country as a whole.
Some risk factors in Bridgeport include automobile exhaust, cigarette smoke, mold, and vermin. “Your ZIP Code matters. It’s a determinant of health,” said Marie-Christine Bournacki, a coordinator of the asthma program for the Connecticut Department of Public Health.
The American Lung Association did a study that found people in Cincinnati, Ohio had a greater risk of developing health problems because of the city’s air pollution.
“Breathing high levels of particle pollution day in and day out also can be deadly…Chronic exposure to particle pollution can shorten life by one to three years,” said the American Lung Association’s report.
Those with children in Washington, D.C. should be aware that more than 15,000 kids in the area are getting diagnosed with asthma and other respiratory problems every year.
Since the city has a dense population, many of the risk factors have to do with heavy levels of traffic. Asthma Doctor, Janet A. Phoenix, explained that the city should focus more on public transportation.
According to McOmie Family Dentistry, Chattanooga, Tennessee ranks second in the entire world for high pollen count and has the most in the United States.
The heavy pollen can severely trigger asthma, allergies, and other respiratory ailments. This most commonly occurs in the spring, so Chattanooga residents are encouraged to stay indoors and drink plenty of water.
Rochester, New York
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) found that adult asthma is estimated to be about 26 percent higher in Rochester, New York than in the rest of the country.
There are high concentrations of poverty in the area, so poor living conditions are most likely the biggest risk factor when it comes to asthma.
Dr. Mark Boomer, a pulmonologist, stated that Tulsa, Oklahoma is often ranked as one of the toughest cities for those living with asthma and allergies.
Dr. Boomer isn’t sure to the extent why so many people in Tulsa are getting asthma, but he thinks one of the reasons is the high pollen count.
New York, New York
It shouldn’t be too much a revelation to realize that New York, New York is one of the worst places for people with asthma to live.
“There is pollution, high pollen concentration, changes in the weather, and then there is susceptible population…” said Dr. Sunit Jariwala, an allergist and asthma specialist.
Unfortunately, Jackson, Mississippi leads the United States with the most fatalities per capita due to asthma-related conditions.
While other surrounding cities have the same environmental factors, Jackson residents aren’t getting diagnosed early enough, aren’t getting medication, and don’t know how to manage their asthma. Also, diseases such as lung cancer, emphysema, and COPD are more common in the area.
Charleston, South Carolina
According to the DHEC Bureau of Community Health and Chronic Disease Prevention, asthma rates have tripled in Charleston, South Carolina over the past four decades.
The Bureau found that one of the key factors that triggered asthma in Charleston residents was tobacco smoke. About 16.5 percent are smokers and over half are regularly exposed to secondhand smoke.
Greensboro, North Carolina
A report from the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America ranked Greensboro, North Carolina as one of the worst cities for asthma sufferers.
Several factors went into this including race, poverty, and environmental triggers. Greensboro has the most asthma-related emergency room visits in the country and the disease is increasing in children aged five to nine.
While many parts of California have better air quality than most of the country, Fresno doesn’t rank too high. This is due to air pollution.
Fresno is surrounded by mountain ranges, which emit pools of unclean air to over 3.5 million residents. Also, Baz Allergy found that Fresno has the highest rate of childhood asthma in America.
Boston, Massachusetts is one of the worst places for someone with asthma to live in the United States.
Many people in the area develop asthma due to environmental factors such as pollen, animals, dust, smoke, and changes in weather. Learning how to manage asthma, especially in children, is crucial to halt its progression.
The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America lists Connecticut as the worst state for people living with asthma. One of the cities to avoid is Hartford.
There is high pollen count in the area, which can trigger severe asthma and allergy symptoms. Also, the air pollution is a major problem.
Louisville, Kentucky has one of the highest rates of asthma in the United States. They even rank fourth in the nation for the highest use of long-term asthma control medication.
Not only do they have a high pollen count, but their air quality is one of the worst in the country. High humidity creates large amounts of smog across the city.
A Newsweek article reported that over 15 percent of adults in Detroit, Michigan have asthma. This is 29 percent higher than the rest of the state.
“It could be dust mites, household pests, exposure to weather conditions – they all may contribute to the development of asthma and allergies,” said Dr. Christine Joseph, an epidemiologist.
There are several factors that go into why Birmingham, Alabama has poor conditions for those living with asthma.
The air quality isn’t what it should be, which triggers asthma symptoms. Also, Birmingham has a shortage of pulmonologists to treat asthma patients. Those with asthma have to wait a long time before getting medical care.
Similar to many cities in the area, Columbus, Ohio is dealing with the effects of weather change and air pollution.
One Columbus resident has been suffering from the city’s conditions since she was a baby. “I have had asthma since I was 10 months old and basically grew up in a hospital. When air pollution is bad I suffocate. It hits me just like that, and I can’t breathe…” said Cindy Groeniger.
Massachusetts isn’t a great place for those living with asthma, especially in the city of Springfield. There are several outside factors that are harming people with the lung disease.
The air is polluted with carbon dioxide emissions and there’s a high pollen count. Health Grades reported that 60 to 80 percent of children and over half of adults in Springfield have asthma.
Anyone with asthma in Worcester, Massachusetts should highly consider finding a new place to live. The American Lung Association gave the city an “F” rating for high levels of air pollution.
The air quality has been worsening asthma and allergy symptoms, especially during the summer months. Go Local Worcester discovered that 10 percent of the city’s population has asthma, which is higher than the national average.
Tucson, Arizona actually used to be a place where people with respiratory problems came to escape poor air conditions. From the 1960s to the 1980s, it was actually ranked as one of the top places to live with asthma.
Now, it’s one of the worst. Tucson has experienced tailpipe and power plant pollution as the city became more industrialized. The increasing temperatures aren’t helping either.
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
While the East Coast has the highest percentage of asthma-related cases, there are still places in the South where it’s very prevalent.
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma experiences many cases of asthma every year. This is mainly due to the high pollen count. Oklahoma City also uses one of the largest amounts of allergy medication in the United States.
Ohio is often referred to as the “asthma-belt” because many of its cities have high populations of asthma patients. One of those happens to be Dayton.
Dayton has one of the highest rates of emergency room visits due to asthma. Also, one in three residents are in poverty and those living in poor conditions often develop asthma.
There are many reasons why people with asthma shouldn’t live in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. First, it’s one of the poorest major cities in the United States. This means that people don’t have a lot of access to crucial healthcare.
Also, Philadelphia has high ozone levels and air particle pollution. Health Grades found that asthma was in the top 20 reasons why Philadelphia residents went to the emergency room every year.
Ohio is considered to be the “asthma-belt” with Dayton, Cincinnati, Columbus just trailing behind the worst of them all. Cleveland has the most asthma cases in the state and in all of the Midwest.
The city has poor air quality and a poverty rate of over 10 percent. These factors widely contribute to the high number of asthma patients and other respiratory illnesses.
New Haven, Connecticut
A report for the New Haven Green Fund states that residents living in New Haven, Connecticut have higher asthma hospitalization rates and emergency room visits than those in the suburbs of Connecticut.
The environment plays a huge role in this, but other factors include housing quality, health care, smoking, trauma, and financial stress.
Nearly 20 percent of the population in Milwaukee, Wisconsin lives below the poverty line, which increases their risk for asthma.
This happens because of poor living conditions, housing next to polluted or congested roads, and lack of insurance and medical treatment. Emergency room visits for asthma in Milwaukee have increased as well.
Richmond, Virginia most likely won’t work well for those who have asthma. Some of the top reasons Richmond can be dangerous for people with this lung disease are air pollution, diesel exhaust, and poverty.
Style Weekly suggests Richmond schools incorporate asthma education into their curriculum because so many residents end up getting long-term disease.
One of the most destructive American cities for those with asthma is Baltimore, Maryland. About 13.7 percent of Baltimore residents currently have asthma, which is a lot higher than the national average of nine percent.
“Asthma disparities are a major contributor to poor educational, health, and quality of life outcomes as well as to avoidable taxpayer spending,” said Sarah LaFave, a pediatric asthma expert.
The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America reported that the worst city in the United States for asthma in 2021 is Allentown, Pennsylvania.
Allentown received the poor rating due to high rates of emergency room visits, ozone pollution, smog, and secondhand smoke. Health Grades found that there are less than 12 asthma experts in the area.