Spring allergy score: 99.62 Knoxville has historically had some of the nation's worst springtime allergy problems, coming in first place in the AAFA's study last year and in many previous years as well. "Knoxville is no stranger to the No. 1 spot in our rankings," Tringale says. "In fact, I'm always surprised when it's not in first place." The 848,000-person metro area suffers from above-average pollen counts, with red cedar, hackberry, elm, willow and poplar trees especially causing problems. Located just 110 miles from Chattanooga, K-Town also has above-average spring usage of allergy medicines. Its only saving grace for allergy sufferers is that Knoxville enjoys an above-average ratio of allergists to patients.