Understanding Risks

Asthma and Climate

For many years, researchers have been studying triggers for asthma. These studies have not only centered on what triggers attacks in those who already have the disease, but also what, if any triggers are present that could lead to someone contracting asthma. Below are some of the lessons that have been learned with all of this research.

Climate-Driven Triggers

Generally, there are several asthma triggers that exist within a climate. The average temperature seems to be somewhat related to the prevalence of asthma, although that link appears to be the weakest. Humidity tends to be a stronger link, and generally speaking, the more humid any place happens to be, the more likely it is that someone will have asthma or suffer from attacks on a more regular basis.


What seems to be more important than pure weather-related conditions is the presence of pollens in the local atmosphere. Obviously, the types and numbers of pollens that are present in a location have something to do with the average temperature and humidity, as places that are more humid in general tend to have more types of pollens in the air.

Some people with asthma can actually move to a place where there are more pollens in the atmosphere and experience at least a temporary reprieve from asthma symptoms. However, it's almost always the case that the person with asthma will eventually encounter attacks once the body identifies the triggers that tend to lead to attacks.

Specific Locations

Several publications have published lists of both the best and the worst places to live if you have asthma, and these lists tend to incorporate the variables mentioned above. Below is a list of both the 'best' and 'worst' places for someone with asthma to live in the United States.

Most Difficult Places to Live with Asthma

  1. Scranton, PA
  2. Richmond, VA
  3. Philadelphia, PA
  4. Atlanta, GA
  5. Milwaukee, WI
  6. Cleveland, OH
  7. Greensboro, NC
  8. Youngstown, OH
  9. St. Louis, MO
  10. Detroit, MI

The 'Best' Places to Live with Asthma

  1. Orange County, CA
  2. San Jose, CA
  3. San Diego, CA
  4. McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX
  5. Syracuse, NY
  6. Middlesex-Somerset-Hunterdon, NJ
  7. Honolulu, HI
  8. West Palm Beach-Boca Raton, FL
  9. Los Angeles, CA
  10. Long Beach, CA

As you see, although there are a few exceptions, the places in the United States with the mildest climates tend to be those that are the easiest to live if someone has asthma. If you are struggling with asthma, ask your doctor about climate and how it could relate to your condition to see if there's a 'safe haven' for you to live without having to deal with too many attacks.