For the third consecutive year, Knoxville has topped the list as the nation's Spring Allergy Capital.
Since 2010, the Asthma and Allergy foundation of America (AAFA) has named Knoxville "the most challenging" place in America to live if you suffer from springtime allergies. Because of spring's early arrival in East Tennessee this year, the allergy season has been especially bad for Knoxville residents.
Abnormally warm temperatures were recorded during March and April, which caused many people to experience allergy symptoms far earlier than usual. Prescott Stone, a student at the University of Tennessee and a long time allergy sufferer, noticed, "it got warm really early and I think the pollen got out a lot earlier."
Some Knoxville residents have even claimed that this year has been the worst allergy season yet. This statement certainly rings true for UT student Jared Eisenhower.
"Honestly, I feel like my allergies have probably been worse this year than they have been before, I'm not sure, they seem like they lasted a little bit longer maybe, maybe that's why it seemed like they were so bad, but I know its really been warm outside recently," he said.
The AAFA reports that the spring allergy season is mostly triggered by tree pollen. East Tennessee is home to a wide assortment of trees and other plant life that produce large quantities of pollen, but the region's Smoky mountains as well as its deep valleys are responsible for trapping this pollen and holding it in the region.
Health officials have noticed an increase in the number of patients with allergy related symptoms the past couple of months. Chelsea Carter, a registered nurse, says this spring has definitely seemed busier.
"The weather this season has been exacerbating allergies a lot more than normal and we've been seeing a lot more patients with allergy related illnesses."
The AAFA webpage contains more information about Knoxville's rank as the nation's allergy capital as well as facts and tips concerning allergies and allergy relief.