Via CNN:

Feel like you can’t breathe? Do you have the uncontrollable urge to rub your eyes every 10 seconds?

The trees are blossoming and shedding pollen early this year, and that’s bad news for millions of Americans who are suffering from allergies.

You probably think your area has it the worst, but the true champion of allergies in America is Knoxville, Tennessee, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

The nonprofit organization, which is releasing its list of 100 allergy capitals next week at allergycapitals.com, bases its rankings on pollen score, how much allergy medicine is used per patient, and the number of board-certified allergists per patient — in other words, how difficult it would be to get an appointment.

“There’s a really obvious concentration of these capitals” in the mid-Atlantic regions and the South Atlantic regions, said Michael Tringale of AAFA. Knoxville is consistently in the top 10, and has been No. 1 several times, he said.

Allergy causes are everywhere

Knoxville has already had pollen counts above 6,000 particles per cubic meter, said allergist Dr. Robert Overholt, who works in the city. With the abundance of vegetation and lots of moisture, an early warm spell in Tennessee sets the area up for a high concentration of allergens such as oak, maple and pine pollen.

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Tree pollen is usually worst in March, April and early May, while grass pollen is highest in April, May and June, Overholt said.

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