Budget deficits, healthcare costs, and climate change.
They gang up on people with allergies.

Know anyone with allergies? Then you know someone surrounded by three bullies.

Map of allergy-prone cities

1. More allergens, partly from climate change. A study over time of 14 million blood samples from allergy sufferers tells us that allergies are more prevalent. Why? The Week summarizes,

“As the planet gets hotter, ragweed and mold are better able to thrive, and that leads to an increase in allergies, says the Quest report. Already, earlier studies had found that the growth of fungal spores increased with rises in carbon dioxide, and that the ragweed pollen season has gotten nearly a month longer since 1995.

2. Less insurance. Medicare and Medicaid are prime targets for budget-cutting in Washington. This is particularly bad news for the elderly and the urban poor who suffer more than others from allergies.

3. Big healthcare costs. Allergy medication is expensive! I’m symptom-free with two puffs a day, but those puffs costs me $1,000 a year – and that’s with health and drug insurance! Think of the lifetime costs for a person who suffers from childhood through old age. On top of that, as a major cause of absenteeism allergies depress incomes.

Allergy sufferers can’t escape these thugs, but there are at least two things they can do to reduce the pain.

Live in a low allergy area. Some US cities are notorious for allergens. Here are the worst 100 for spring allergies, as determined by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. The map above shows their distribution.

Live in a low health-cost area. As I’ve discussed before in Climate-Proof, what you pay hospitals and doctors varies widely across the  country (often inversely with quality of care). If you are thinking about where to live to protect the family health budget, it pays to check these costs in the Dartmouth Health Care Atlas or in summary on our Where-To-Live Scorecards.

Got any other ideas about what allergy sufferers can do to protect their health and pocketbook?

Article first published as It will increasingly pay to avoid allergens on Technorati.