A woman sitting in bed, holding her face and pressing on her sinuses
Avoiding areas known to trigger symptoms can help if you frequently suffer from sinus infections.

Avoid These Locations if You Suffer From Sinus Infections or Allergies

Allergies and sinus infections can leave you feeling drained and exhausted. There are treatment options and lifestyle changes you can make to help manage symptoms. This article should help you narrow down your choices so you can put your mind at ease when booking. Below, we examine the worst cities for sinuses and the worst cities for allergies.

The Worst Cities for Allergies and Sinuses

So, where should you avoid? The following places might just be the worst cities for sinuses and allergy sufferers.

1. Richmond, Virginia

WebMD rates Richmond as one of the worst places for fall allergies, specifically. However, many sources pinpoint Richmond as, generally, not the best place for seasonal allergies year-round, including those in the spring and summer months.

So, why is Richmond, Virginia one of the worst cities for allergies? Various flowers and trees pollinate at different times throughout the year. In general, Richmond also has one of the highest year round pollen counts, making it particularly troublesome for those with sinus or allergy issues.

2. Scranton, Pennsylvania

Like Richmond, Scranton, Pennsylvania also has one of the highest pollen counts, making it less than desirable for those with allergies. In 2022, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America reported Scranton as the top 2022 Allergy Capital due to higher-than-average spring and fall pollen and fewer board-certified allergists and immunologists.

3. McAllen, Texas

McAllen, Texas is another one of the worst cities for allergies and sinuses, with it ranking close to the top for many years in a row. This ranking has been attributed to the area’s climate, population growth, allergens and pollen count.

The bad news about McAllen, Texas is that allergy season doesn’t have a definite end. There are different pollinating species year-round, posing problems for those with sinus and allergy problems.

4. San Antonio, Texas

San Antonio, Texas has similarities to McAllen in that allergy season doesn’t ever end. In the worst part of the year, it’s even encouraged for people to keep their windows and doors firmly shut to avoid allergens entering the home. While the weather is great for most of the year, it also creates the perfect climate for allergies to be problematic.

5. Springfield, Massachusetts

In 2020, Springfield was dubbed the third worst city in the United States for allergies. Again, a high pollen count is to blame, making this not an ideal spot for those with sinus issues or allergies.

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Sinus Pain Symptoms You Should Know

Allergies and sinus infections can feel very similar, but they are somewhat treated differently. A sinus infection involves inflammation and irritation of the sinuses and happens due to infection, whereas allergies can do the same and produce sneezing, hives, and more.

Some other common sinus pain symptoms include:

  • Head pain.
  • Pressure in the head.
  • Pain that gets worse when you bend over or lie down.

Chronic sinusitis with nasal polyps, which is a non-cancerous growth in the nose, may involve:

  • A runny nose.
  • Stuffiness.
  • Loss of smell or decreased smell.
  • Loss of sense of taste.
  • Headache.
  • Facial pain.
  • Snoring.
  • Sneezing.

These symptoms can resemble those of allergies. With bad allergies or sinus infections, it’s important to seek out adequate care. If these are persistent issues in your life, getting the guidance of an allergist or immunologist can help you determine the best course of treatment for you and your life.

At the end of the day, the best way to limit allergies is to avoid them altogether. This means probably not planning a trip or living in the worst cities for sinuses, as outlined above. Before heading to any city, you can check the pollen levels via weather and climate reports.

Contrasting the above, some of the best cities with low pollen counts include:

  • Stockton, California.
  • Salt Lake City, Utah.
  • Seattle, Washington.
  • Provo, Utah.
  • Durham, North Carolina.

Treatment Options

Here are some common treatment options:

  • Manuka honey rinse: Rinsing your nose with Manuka honey can kill bacteria that cause certain sinus infections.
  • Nasal irrigation: Saline nasal irrigation using a neti pot or a nasal spray can help flush out mucus and relieve nasal congestion.
  • Decongestants: Over-the-counter nasal decongestant sprays or oral decongestants can help reduce nasal congestion temporarily. However, prolonged use of nasal decongestant sprays can lead to rebound congestion, so they should be used for short periods as directed.
  • Pain relievers: Over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help alleviate pain and reduce inflammation associated with sinusitis.
  • Topical corticosteroids: Prescription nasal sprays containing corticosteroids can help reduce inflammation in the nasal passages and relieve symptoms of sinusitis. These are typically used for moderate to severe cases or chronic sinusitis.
  • Antibiotics: If a bacterial infection is suspected, antibiotics may be prescribed by a healthcare professional. However, sinusitis is often caused by viral infections, for which antibiotics are not effective.
  • Steam inhalation: Inhaling steam from a bowl of hot water or using a humidifier can help moisten the nasal passages, relieve congestion, and promote sinus drainage.

Allergy management: If sinusitis is triggered by allergies, identifying and managing the allergens can help prevent recurring sinus problems. This may involve allergy testing, avoiding allergens, and using allergy medications.

Surgical intervention: In cases of chronic or recurrent sinusitis that do not respond to other treatments, surgical options such as endoscopic sinus surgery may be considered to improve sinus drainage and reduce inflammation.

In Conclusion

If you’re prone to allergies or sinus infections, these cities may be a better pick for a weekend away! At the same time, it may depend on the time of year so make sure you do your due diligence. Again, research the pollen count before booking your trip. Bring your allergy medication or sinus medication with you.

While not always completely avoidable, there are ways to limit your risk of a sinus infection or allergy.