If you’ve had seasonal allergies for a while, you may have noticed they seem to be getting worse. New research names climate change as the primary culprit for the increase in allergies. It also means that there may be tough times ahead for the millions of Americans who suffer from hay fever, asthma, or a pollen allergy.
Do warmer weather patterns lengthen pollen season?
The increase in greenhouse gasses associated with warmer weather patterns provides optimal growing conditions for some plants, including many that cause seasonal pollen allergies. Findings recently published in the scientific journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), show North America’s pollen seasons have lengthened by an average of 20 days since 1990. What’s more, pollen concentrations have increased by 21%. So not only is allergy season longer, but more pollen is released, causing worse allergy symptoms.
While there is a massive public discussion in regards to how climate change impacts the Earth and wildlife, there is little talk about its impact on humans. Yet with over 50 million allergy sufferers in the US, climate change and allergies are an issue and they are getting worse.
This study is the first to definitively show a correlation between climate change and the shifting pollen seasons. Increased carbon concentrations in the atmosphere lead to warmer spring temperatures. These warmer temperatures cause plants, trees, and grasses to produce pollen earlier, extending the growing season.
Warmer weather also causes more carbon dioxide to accumulate in ragweed and other pollen-producing plants in the fall, allowing them to create more pollen than ever. It leaves no doubt that climate change and allergies are closely related.
What does more pollen mean for allergy sufferers?
Reactions to pollen can trigger allergy symptoms and increase the risk and severity of asthma attacks. Therefore, longer, more intense pollen seasons mean more symptoms for allergy sufferers. For those with pollen allergies, what was once a brief seasonal issue is turning into an everyday problem.
The researchers involved in the PNAS published study say the problem will likely continue to worsen. Pollen concentrations are linked to allergy medication purchases, emergency hospital visits, and viral infections because of sufferers’ weakened immune systems.
What can a pollen allergy sufferer do to relieve symptoms?
If you suffer from a pollen allergy, you already know how debilitating it can feel. But there are things you can do to improve your symptoms:
- Check your daily pollen count and plan outside activities accordingly
- Limit time spent outdoors in the afternoon and evenings
- Wash your hands and face and change your clothes when you get home
- Take over-the-counter antihistamines and nasal sprays
- Keep windows and doors closed during high pollen times
For those who want a real solution to their pollen allergy, not just something to mask the symptoms, consider allergy immunotherapy. Immunotherapy involves exposing your body to small amounts of specific allergens, allowing your immune system to build up a tolerance over time.
Until recently, allergy immunotherapy involved weekly allergy shots at the doctor’s office. Now, you can get immunotherapy from the comfort of your home with allergy drops from Wyndly.
Are you ready for a life free from allergies?
If you’re looking for a long-term solution to your pollen allergy, look no further than Wyndly. Our allergy doctors are here to answer your immunotherapy questions and address your concerns. Schedule your consultation today to see if allergy drops are right for you!