Climate Change Is Making Allergy Season Worse Every Year

Spring had a late start across the United States, but when it came, it came with a bang for allergy sufferers. It brought sneezing, itchy/watery eyes, coughs, and runny noses to many. About 25 percent of the population suffers from a type of allergic disease, and many have claimed that their allergies have gotten worse. They are not wrong, and climate change is part of the problem.

What Does Climate Change Do to Plants?

Peaks in pollen production occur in the spring for trees and in the summer and fall for grasses and weeds. This means that some people may experience seasonal allergy symptoms for half the year or more. But how does climate change affect this?

Carbon dioxide emissions have increased over the years, and last year was one of the hottest years on record. Studies have found that an increase in carbon dioxide increases the amount of allergenic peptides plants produce, which is a protein found in pollen. This protein is what causes the population’s allergic reactions. An increase in carbon dioxide also means a larger mass of pollen produced. Scientists measured 8,000 pollen grains per cubic meter in 2000. This is predicted to rise to 20,000 pollen grains per cubic meter in 2040.

Over the years, the period of time that plants produce pollen has been lengthened. It is produced early and sticks around longer. The allergy season is about 27 days longer than it was seven to ten years ago. This is why people who suffer from allergies have felt their symptoms longer and at a more severe frequency.

How to Keep Seasonal Allergies at Bay

Until we can curb the rise in carbon dioxide emissions and climate change, allergy sufferers will have to be more strict in their methods of coping with the symptoms. The best way to approach it is to prevent pollen from sticking to you and objects you are constantly around.

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Take Allergy Medication

The sooner you can start taking an over-the-counter medication, the sooner your symptoms will lessen. Medications like Zyrtec, Claritin, and Allegra will not make you drowsy like Benadryl or Advil, so if you need to stay awake, opt for the first options. There are also allergy eye drops and shots available.

If your symptoms are severe, see a doctor. They can prescribe stronger medications to help you cope this summer.

Do Not Bring Pollen Inside with You

Peak hours for pollen are between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m., so avoid going outside during those times. If you have to go out though, wear a hat and sunglasses. This prevents pollen from affecting your eyes and sticking to your hair. When you go back inside, take your shoes off so you are not tracking pollen throughout your home. Change your clothes as well. Any way to keep pollen away from you is best.

It is also better to opt out of opening up your windows to cool your home. Pollen can easily be blown in and cause your allergy symptoms to flare up. If you can use fans, great, but if it is too warm for that, turning on your air conditioner is the best option.

In Summation

Allergy sufferers are in for a rough season this year due to higher pollen production. There are ways to lessen the symptoms now, but in the long run, we need to fight against the carbon dioxide emissions causing the problem. They are so many ways to reduce your footprint, so you will need to pick a place to start.

Image Source: Pixabay

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Lacey Jolley
 

I love exploring, experiencing new places, and eating good food! I'm amazed every day at how well the Earth provides for us, and I want to return the favor. I hope to help others learn how we can make our world a better, cleaner place.

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