A recent ranking of cities with the worst pollen problems might surprise you. It doesn't have the Scenic City as high on the list as you'd think. Chattanooga ranks 20th out of 100 cities studied. The list of "Most Challenging Places to Live with Spring Allergies" was published by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA).

Judie Merritt was surprised at where we ranked. She has been allergic to pollen for decades and her symptoms can be miserable.

"Stuffed up nose, nose running. Sometimes my throat would close up. I have really severe asthma," says Merritt.

She eventually got it under control, needing fewer and fewer shots.

"Instead of once a week to every other week to every third week," recalls Merrit.

It all got worse after she and her husband, Ed, came to Chattanooga in 1989.

"Until I moved down here. Then I had to start all over again," adds Merrit.

Allergist Todd Levin has heard this story before because Chattanooga has one of the largest varieties of trees and plants for any spot on earth.

"We live in this giant bowl, and this vegetation produces pollen and it just sinks to the bottom of the valley where we live," says Levin.

The AAFA list used the following three factors: 2017's pollen counts, 2017's number of allergy medications per patient, and the number of board certified allergists per patient. Dr. Levin believes using the number of allergists is unfair.

"When you look at the data, 50% of the population will suffer some type of pollen allergy," states Levin. "Having 10 or 11 allergist in a town might not make a huge difference."

He believes only the other two factors should have been used. The results would have been more accurate.

"I think we'd be in the top five," adds Levin.