A woman wearing a medical face mask, standing outside

Have Asthma? Avoid Living or Traveling to These 4 Cities

What is Asthma?

Asthma is a common long-term lung disease that can be suffered in varying intensities.

Some people have rather mild conditions where they suffer from some coughing and shortness of breath. There are more worrisome symptoms such as wheezing, chest tightness, and severe breathing problems that people can experience as well.

Although this is a medical problem that stems from internal dysfunction, there are many external influences that can cause someone’s asthma to get worse.

External Asthma Triggers

There are certain activities that should be avoided if you have severe asthma.

Exercise, for example, is one activity you must be careful with. Extreme exercise may be a bad idea for someone who suffers from asthma, because it can trigger asthma attacks.

Smoking is another activity that should be avoided. Inhaling smoke can cause irritation to your airways when you inhale, which will make breathing more difficult.

Picking up a cigarette isn’t the only way you can get unwanted, irritating particles clogging up your airways. Other common triggers include:

Second-hand Smoking
Just because you aren’t the person with the cigarette in your mouth doesn’t mean that you aren’t being affected by it. Second-hand smoking is a real problem where those who surround themselves with smokers are more vulnerable to problems experienced by those who smoke. While you can ask people to smoke at a distance, it can be difficult to avoid smokers in some busy cities.

Air Pollution
There are even cities where there are problems with the air in general. Places that are highly industrialized can be full of pollution. When you are surrounded by factories or tons of cars, there will be a lot of pollution emitted directly into the air. Many large cities try to combat this with mandatory policies.

Bad Weather
Even if you are in the middle of a gorgeous field far from civilization you can suffer from asthma symptoms. Weather is a huge trigger for a lot of people depending on individual sensitivities. There isn’t a clear-cut weather pattern for asthma sufferers to avoid. Instead, there are a few things that some people find troubling. There are people who have problems breathing when the weather is very humid and stormy. Others have problems when the weather is too cold or dry. There are even some lucky people who are triggered by both.

Beyond the weather outside, there are some other natural factors that impact asthma. For those who suffer from allergies, plants may be just as dangerous as smokestacks. Pollen count is an important statistic to keep an eye on. In most places, the pollen count will change with the season (you have probably heard people talk about seasonal allergies), but there are some locations that are consistently high.

Worst Cities for Asthma in the USA

All things considered, there are some locations throughout the USA that are worse for people with asthma. Certain cities might make breathing very difficult, which could cause someone with asthma to avoid living there, or visiting for a weekend getaway. It’s important to always do research to make sure your destination is safe.

While there is always medication to help ease your symptoms, there are some places which you should probably try to avoid if you suffer from asthma.

Jackson, Mississippi

Mississippi is an allergy sufferer’s nightmare. This city has the highest pollen count in the USA, which can spell disaster for asthma sufferers. The city isn’t so high in pollution compared to other American cities, but, like many other cities in the south, Jackson has a very high humidity rate.

Bakersfield, California

It may come as a surprise to you that the American city with the highest pollution rate stands in sunny California. Bakersfield has the highest pollution measures when looking at spikes in particulate matter. This means that the normal air in the city will generally irritate those who are sensitive to their asthma symptoms.

Dayton, Ohio

Ohio is another place that seems to have a lot of problems for asthma sufferers. This is likely due to the pollen count impacting the air quality. They are one of the highest-ranking states in terms of asthma-related emergency room visits, and the sheer frequency of asthma medication use.

Springfield, Massachusetts

Springfield has the highest number of emergency room visits in the nation due to asthma attacks and symptoms. There are a lot of pollen problems, but experts also believe there are other reasons as to why the numbers are so high. Massachusetts falls within the “Northeast Mid-Atlantic Asthma Belt,” one of the regions in which the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) have marked as a difficult area for asthma sufferers to live. In addition to the pollen problem, high levels of poverty and poor air quality are also believed to contribute to these problems.