When it comes to friendly environments in which conditions for asthma and allergies can flourish, Memphis is about as friendly as they come.
In fact, the most recent annual rankings of Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) for cities that are the best and the worst for asthma sufferers places Memphis at the head of the class in the worst-cities category.
"Although Memphis' air quality is average, almost all other factors are not delivering good results," the AAFA survey says. "For example, the city's asthma occurrence rate, as well as asthma death rate, is pretty high, while the number of asthma specialists is considerably low. On top of that, the pollen score, just like the poverty rate, is very high."
Other cities that made the top five worst list include Philadelphia, Detroit and Oklahoma City, and Richmond, Virginia. Each city is on the list because of low air quality, a high level of pollen, no strong public smoking restrictions and - with the exception of Richmond - a high poverty rate.
The best city to live in for asthma sufferers is San Francisco, according to the experts at AAFA. That's not only because of its clean air quality, tough smoking laws and low pollen, but also because the city has an Asthma Task Force that helps prevent asthma and improve the quality of life for those with the pulmonary condition.
Other cities in the top five best on the survey include Boise, Idaho; Seattle, San Jose, California, and Abilene, Texas, because of their favorable air quality, low pollen, low poverty rates, required levels of healthcare, and smoking regulations.
Also, even though San Jose's air quality is considered average, the city is participating in a Spare the Air program that allows implementation of environmentally friendly projects to improve local air quality.
The AAFA surveyors note that while asthma is a chronic condition that cannot be completely cured, it can be managed with a prudent lifestyle and favorable living location.
But rather than immediately pack up and move from Memphis to San Francisco (which some might find appealing regardless of the asthma factors), they simply note that you must pay closer attention to your asthma management and plan activities more carefully with your chronic condition in mind.
If it's any consolation, the AAFA's most recent allergy rankings survey placed Memphis only as second worst. Top prize went to Jackson, Mississippi.