BOSTON ( TheStreet) -- If allergies hit you hard this time of year, here's some advice that's nothing to sneeze at: Consider moving to a place with fewer allergens.
"Allergies can be a problem no matter where you live, but some places are better than others," says Mike Tringale of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, which recently named the five best cities for springtime-allergy sufferers as part of its 11th annual Spring Allergy Capitals study.
Each year, researchers rank the continental United States' 100 largest metro areas on a weighted scale of allergy-related factors. The AAFA gives each community a score between zero and 100 based on springtime pollen counts, how much prescription and over-the-counter medicine the average spring-allergy patient buys and how many allergists each community has relative to patient levels.
The group has long found that Southern noncoastal communities tend to have the worst springtime allergies.By contrast, Tringale says cities in the West and along the Florida and Gulf coasts generally have the fewest issues. "You'd think that damp, warm areas like Florida would have a lot of mold allergies, but mold actually requires a very specific temperature range," he says. "If it's too hot, mold won't grow. Salt air can help keep mold at bay as well." Read on to check out at the five metro areas that this year's AAFA study found have America's fewest problems with springtime allergies. Each city's pollen score refers to spring 2012 levels of tree pollen and other allergens, while medicine usage reflects a community's average per-patient springtime consumption of drugs such as antihistamines. The level of allergy doctors per city refers to the ratio of allergy patients to board-certified allergists tracked by the American Board of Medical Specialties.